Growing Hamilton

Council purchases five riverside properties for park expansion plan

Hamilton's Central City straddling the Waikato River

Hamilton City Council has purchased four central city buildings as part of long-term plans to develop a central city river park.

The four buildings are south of the existing park – 242-266 Victoria St – on the Waikato River side of the city’s main street. They comprise five individual property titles held by two vendors representing multiple tenants.

The purchase of the buildings follows through on a decision the Council made as part of its recent 10-Year Plan, through which funding was made available.

Mayor Andrew King says the vendors of the properties approached the Council with a willingness to sell the sites – an opportunity Mayor King says the Council could not let pass by.

“These long-term strategic purchases are intended to provide the Council with a maximum opportunity to develop and enhance this important part of the central city.”

Mayor King says short-term arrangements will see the Council retain the buildings as investment properties, meaning existing business tenants will stay and thus provide a revenue stream.

The purchase of the properties gives the Council the option for future use of the site – although there are no current or immediate plans or funding to either demolish the buildings or develop the sites on which they sit.

“Keeping the businesses there gives us an income from the properties while we develop plans to incorporate these sites into an expanded riverside public plaza,” he says.

Mayor King acknowledged the long-term aim is to connect the central city river park with the Waikato Regional Theatre, which is scheduled to open in July 2021.

“These long-term strategic purchases are intended to provide the Council with a maximum opportunity to develop and enhance this important part of the central city.”

“I’m delighted these purchases will help progress my dream of opening up central Hamilton to the Waikato River for the long-term benefit of our city and its residents,” Mayor King says.

The four buildings on the five properties had an estimated current market value of $4.3M. The Council paid $6.49M for the properties – less than the $7M which had been budgeted for the purchases.

Mayor King says Hamilton’s central city property market remains buoyant, and had another party purchased these properties it’s likely they too would’ve paid similar, or the same, prices as the Council has.

“These are prime properties on our main street, and I expect if they had been marketed they would have fetched similar prices to what the Council has paid.”

In property transaction terms, “premium” reflects:

  • A property having greater value to an adjoining owner where the possibility to amalgamate land, or aggregate potential advantage, exists.  Premiums of up to 100% have been paid in Victoria St where an adjoining owner wishes to secure a strategic site.
  • A property deemed strategically important (due to its size, location, proximity or other reasons) to a purchaser will attract a premium over and above the Estimated Current Market Value.
  • Market intentions – the Council has signalled its intention to purchase property for the Central City Park.  A motivated purchaser has an impact on property values, and the market will factor this into pricing, which is not reflected in the ECMV.

Estimates of current market value can vary from valuer to valuer within a range of plus or minus 10%.

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