Commercial property BOOMING in central Hamilton

Thanks to new development over the past 5-10 years, Hamilton's central city is almost unrecognisable.

Many of the changes reflect the changing requirements of tenants, according to local Harcourts managing director Mike Neale.

For example, buildings are being renovated in Garden Place, which is surrounded by former insurance company and bank buildings dating back to the 1940s.

Among them is the distinctive tiled former National Bank of Australia building on the corner of Garden Place and Worley Place. It was sold by Harcourts to Hamilton's Stark Property.

Developer Matt Stark said the building had potential for rooftop hospitality space.

We're extending the lift to the top. The top floor has been taken by iClaw Law, the three floors below will be for co-working space and the ground floor existing tenants."

Stark said there was plenty of demand for space, often with tenants coming from older stock who also liked the flexibility of co-working space.

former National Bank of Australia building, Hamilton, New Zealand
The former National Bank of Australia building on the corner of Garden Place in central Hamilton.
Neale said open-plan co-working space was indicative of changing tastes among tenants and was becoming more popular.

"In the next 15 years we could see up to 40 per cent of office space as co-working space. This wouldn't have made sense five years ago. It's a change in attitude. In past years landlords would have let tenants do their own renovations. But what tenants want these days is to be able to walk into space that is already renovated," Neale said.

Car yards were also disappearing from central city, including the former Toyota dealership on the corner of Tristram and London Streets which is being redeveloped.

The former Liqour King site next door is also being redeveloped. Plans are afoot for the Ebbetts site on the corner of Anglesea and Hood Streets.

A new headquarters for private education provider New Zealand Management Academy is rising on the former Duncan and Ebbett Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover dealership site in Tristram St.

They follow the re-purposing of what was the Foodtown supermarket into a new headquarters for Genesis Energy, and the coming redevelopment of the K Mart complex. 

"Five or six years ago you couldn't get anyone to invest in the CBD. Now we've got retailers coming back from The Base. People including the Waikato DHB are coming into what was the Farmers building, taking 9000 square metres of office space. Wellington investor Ian Cassels and the Wellington Company are taking over the riverside former IRD building.

 "Another change has been a move to shorter and more flexible leases for which tenants pay a premium. 

"The old model was 100sqm of shop space plus 50sqm of storage. Now people want 50 to 70sqm of retail space and additional stock is stored off-site."

Along with more office and retail space, the rapidly expanding apartment, food and entertainment offerings are attracting more young people.

"With things like gyms, retail and hospitality available, younger people are seeing apartments as a step on the property ladder with amenities nearby," Neale said.