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Location hard to beat: 61 Beach St is for sale by deadline private treaty

A three-level Queenstown CBD building on the market ticks a lot of boxes.

The building, at 61 Beach Street, has retail on the ground floor while its middle floor was formerly occupied by the popular Flame restaurant, which also had the top floor for food prep.

The 625 square metres of lettable space is only leased month-to-month, so a buyer effectively gets vacant possession.

There are also redevelopment plans, by architects Warren and Mahoney, which are well through the consent process.

Then there’s the building’s ‘‘absolute prime’’ location, looking out to Earnslaw Park and Queenstown Bay, with stunning upper-floor views towards the Remarkables.

And this building, like others along Lower Beach St, will also be among the first to benefit from the CBD streetscaping project.

Originally built in the late ’80s, the top level, including a mezzanine, was added in the mid-2000s.

When Flame owners Lou McDowell and Jonathan Bisley wanted to redevelop their leased premises, they ended up buying the building and taking on 50/50 partner Westwood Group Holdings, which owns the nearby Steamer Wharf complex.

Westwood’s Johnny Stevenson explains the idea was Flame would move to former Steamer Wharf office premises while the building was being redeveloped.

However, the fitout for those supposedly temporary premises was so good, they became Flame’s permanent new home.

As a result, 61 Beach St became surplus to requirements — ‘‘and we’ve got a lot of other things on as well’’, Stevenson says.

Although the redevelopment plans suggest the ground floor, including a terrace, could be occupied by a bar, with a restaurant on the middle floor and an other bar on top, he notes the ground floor could equally also remain retail with office or even residential  uses on top.

Future look: An artist’s impression showing redevelopment plans

‘‘Probably within six weeks [a new owner] could be building, or you could throw it into a holding pattern,’’ Stevenson says.

Perhaps only half jokingly, he suggests someone might also consider a rooftop bar.

Apart from ‘‘one of the most fantastic, uninterrupted views’’, he also thinks the new streetscape will appeal.

‘‘This street’s the best it’s looked in two years, really — it’s had the pain and now the pain’s moving elsewhere in town.’’

The property’s being marketed by local Colliers agents Mark Simpson, Mary-Jo Hudson, Alastair Wood and Rory O’Donnell via deadline private treaty, closing May 26.

Simpson says ‘‘despite what’s happened with Covid and the real impact it’s had on businesses’’, the commercial property market in the CBD, and in Frankton, has been ‘‘remarkably resilient’’.

‘‘We’ve had more [CBD] vacancies than we’ve had for a long time, but they’re leasing up now.

‘‘The Australasian retailers are doing deals and they’re at pre-Covid levels, albeit with some incentives, so it’s a pretty positive ticket for the long-term belief in Queenstown.’’

It’s rare for a buyer to have ‘‘a blank canvas’’, he says, ‘‘’cos normally there are sitting tenants’’.

There’s also potential for an owner-occupier to buy the building, he suggests.

‘‘The buyer will be somebody who’s got the ability to take it to the next level in terms of redevelopment and occupancy.’’

Though its rateable value is $8,030,000, ‘‘we don’t know where it’s going to land, that’s why we’re not pricing it’’.

‘‘Normally these opportunities are off-market, so it’s fantastic we’re able to offer it openly to the market.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz