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News Release

Morningside developments add a Ponsonby vibe

JLL marketing 34, 36 & 38 Ethel Street, Morningside



Long term investment with development potential/new-zealand/en-gb/news/916/long-term-investment-with-development-potentialAUCKLANDLong term investment with development potential
Former Fire Station on high profile corner site/new-zealand/en-gb/news/915/former-fire-station-on-high-profile-corner-siteCHRISTCHURCHFormer Fire Station on high profile corner site


The Auckland suburb of Morningside, traditionally known for being the home of light industrial businesses on the city fringe, is undergoing a period of gentrification. This has largely been driven by the Unitary Plan and community members who saw the opportunity to implement their vision for the area.

JLL agent Alex Wefers says, "Morningside is evolving into a Ponsonby-like area. It has a number of locational advantages such as being only 4km from Auckland's CBD and a short walk to Eden Park. The train station also makes Morningside more accessible than many of the other city fringe suburbs.

"The City Rail Link (CRL) is set to change Auckland by better connecting the city centre to the city fringe. For residents of Morningside and Kingsland it will only be a 10-15 minute commute to the CBD. The CRL will essentially double the number of trains, double the capacity of people on trains and will enable people living in some of the outer regions of the city to have the convenience of only being a 30 minute commute from the CBD. This means that for an inner city suburb like Morningside, commuters from further afield will have better access to visit. Therefore, the importance of having an attractive community with cafes, bars and shopping areas becomes paramount," he says.

"Along with the CRL, changes made under the Auckland Unitary Plan have seen many of the traditional warehouses in the area re-zoned to mixed use, therefore enabling conversion to higher and better uses. This is akin to the evolution we have seen along Ponsonby Road, Karangahape Road and the Kingsland portion of New North Road, which have all been transformed into destination shopping and eating destinations," says Wefers.

While Morningside is only in the early stages of its gentrification, some light industrial properties have been converted to cafes and bars, a prime example being Crave Café. Crave opened in the latter half of 2016 after relocating from smaller premises nearby. The café was launched by the 'Collective' which is a small group of locals who share their profits with the community.

"Crave is a great example of kiwi ingenuity and changes to real estate brought on by members of a diverse community seeking more for their neighbourhood. Having visited Crave, I can confirm it is popular, funky and the place to be seen when visiting Morningside. It is great to see a former warehouse transformed into such a vibrant space," says Wefers.

Further change is currently underway at 14-18 McDonald Street, where a food hall style development is to be constructed. It is set to resemble popular hangouts like Britomart and Ponsonby Central, with the inclusion of fashion labels and some office space.

"It is clear that Morningside is embracing its diversity and the millennial energy that exists in the neighbourhood and this is being reflected in the types of businesses popping up," says Wefers.

The popular Urbanaut Brewery operates out of 597 New North Rd, and a few doors down is Flight 605, a popular craft beer and fries bar.

At 580 New North Road, a new eight level apartment block, which will have 60 apartments is to be constructed called Station 580. The developer is Kells Group Ltd and construction is estimated to commence in mid-2018. This property will add to the growing community making the most of its close proximity to the train station and the hubs at Morningside and Kingsland.

JLL agent Jarred Hill explains that high density low rise residential is becoming more the norm for the area. "The low-rise residential complexes that are popping up in the area translate to a need for more cafes, retail and entertainment areas, and the suburb is responding to this by making it happen," he says.

"Another example of a recent warehouse/showroom conversion in the area is 28 Ethel Street, which was formerly a warehouse for a construction company. Since the zoning change, it has been converted to a funky showroom for a florist, and gift shop for Wild Poppies, who also specialise in cupcakes and cakes," says Hill.

The Courier Post property at 11 McDonald Street, demonstrates the opportunities for gentrification in Morningside. Having been light industrial space for many years, the property has recently been sold and due to the Unitary Plan having changed the underlying zoning to mixed use, the opportunity exists for the new owner to reposition it in the market.

"This property could become low rise apartments or office blocks with possible retail underneath or, being such a large site, could become a retirement village or supermarket," says Wefers.

"Architects and designers are becoming more creative about how such space is utilised and we are seeing more open areas that draw people in. I believe this is reflective of the lifestyle many millennials are after, moving away from traditional office and retail spaces to more cohesive mixed use environments where more interaction can take place," he explains.

That being said, larger traditional businesses have also identified Morningside as a great location. Last month Briscoes Group commenced development of their head office property at 1-5 Taylors Road. It will form an office component for Briscoes along with a retail store for Rebel Sport.

"By basing themselves in Morningside, Briscoes Group have essentially placed themselves in a location that provides a great work environment for their staff, which assists with staff retention. The accessibility to transport linkages, cafes, retail and residential accommodation are obvious draw-cards. In addition to these staff benefits, the company is also well positioned to benefit from the diverse pool of possible employees who live in the area," says Wefers.

Existing textile businesses have refurbished properties on Ethel and Collins Streets showing clear intention of remaining in the area, with Wall Fabrics moving from Grey Lynn to Morningside's Gordon Road, to add to the offering.

"One interesting fact about Morningside which I believe epitomizes the vibrancy of the area and the people that live there is the fact that it is home to the office of our new Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. I sold 656 New North Road to an add value investor back in 2016, and the property was then refurbished to suit the requirements of its new tenant, the New Zealand Labour Party," says Wefers.

With so much change occurring in the Morningside area, more conversions, developments and new concepts are expected.

"We are currently marketing three industrial units at 34, 36 & 38 Ethel Street, which are right in the hub of Morningside. It is possible the properties could retain their current light industrial use, or they could easily be snapped up by an owner occupier who wishes to change the use. What is clear is that the options are endless and the Morningside community are right behind supporting change in the area," says Wefers.

The Ethel Street properties have 19 carparks and offer various floor sizes, between 501sqm and 603sqm, with a total floor area of 1,621sqm and a total site area of 1976sqm. The properties have an NBS rating of 75% and are of solid construction.

Being side by side, the opportunity exists for one owner occupier to utilise one unit while leasing the balance.

"With very little vacancy in Morningside demand for the area is high, so I believe both owner occupiers and investors alike will have no issues filling the spaces with new tenants. The flexibility of the property is certainly an added bonus with the ability for the new owner to alter space requirements to suit," says Wefers.

"The location of the properties places them just 450m from the Morningside train station and 750m from Eden Park, both of which are attractive drawcards for businesses," explains Wefers.

The three Ethel Street warehouse units are being sold through an expressions of interest campaign closing Wednesday, 28 March 2018 (unless sold prior).