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Kaikoura’s iconic waterfront Pier Hotel for sale

The historic Pier Hotel in Kaikoura has been put up for sale, at a time when interest in the town among property investors and developers continues to grow. 

The historic Pier Hotel in Kaikoura has been put up for sale, at a time when interest in the town among property investors and developers continues to grow.

The two-level building, which was constructed in the 1880s, is located at 1 Avoca St at the eastern end of the town. The freehold land and buildings, along with the business and chattels, are for sale by negotiation via Savills North Canterbury and Marlborough broker Rob Gibson.

The 710m2 hotel, which features a restaurant and bar on the ground floor and nine guest rooms upstairs with mountain and sea views, is a thriving business which is very popular with visitors and locals, says Gibson.

“The seafood restaurant is a very strong business which enjoys a great reputation locally and internationally. The upstairs rooms are also usually booked out. We’re expecting this will be considered a very good opportunity for buyers looking to acquire a prime waterfront property and business in a high-growth tourism hub.”

The 2428m2 north-facing site offers a large waterfront land holding in one of the best locations in town, Gibson says. “You can sit outside the hotel with a drink and watch the sun set over the bay and the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges. It’s quite a unique experience that locals and visitors love.”

The building, which withstood the November 2016 earthquake, also contains a two-bedroom self-contained staff accommodation suite. The bar, dining and kitchen areas have been extensively renovated and modernised in recent years.

The Pier Hotel was originally constructed on a different site near Kaikoura’s old wharf. The hotel’s first owner, J.W. Goodall, built it to capture the accommodation trade from ships which called at Kaikoura, and for the local whalers and fishermen to quench their thirst.

When local sea trade picked up substantially a new wharf was required. When the wharf site was altered, the decision was made to move the Pier Hotel. The building was cut into pieces and shifted with the help of rollers and a traction engine to its current site.

Many colourful characters have frequented the hotel over the decades. One celebrated proprietor was Wilson Rutledge, a former ship’s steward who took over the lease in 1914. The Pier was in a run-down state when he took over so he set about refurbishing it. Following the completion of the project, a visiting inspector proclaimed it the best country hotel in New Zealand.

The sale of the hotel follows the announcement of two new tourism property developments in Kaikoura last year: a new Sudima Hotel and a retail and accommodation development on the site of the former Adelphi Hotel, demolished following the earthquake. These new developments demonstrate the pace of growth in the tourism market, says Gibson.

“Visitor accommodation supply in Kaikoura was severely reduced following the November 2016 earthquake. Visitor numbers are rising steadily following the re-opening of State Highway One and this is placing even more pressure on the limited number of rooms available.”

Kaikoura has long been regarded as one of the South Island’s top destinations, with 60 percent of visitors to the South Island passing through the town, Mr Gibson says.

“With the reopening of State Highway One, it’s fantastic to see the Kaikoura tourism market now well on its way to recovery.”

Annual visitor spending in the Kaikoura district for the year to December 2018 was $110m, 66 percent higher than the previous year, according to MBIE.

Interest among property investors in Kaikoura has been increasing since the reopening of State Highway One, with both locals and out of towners looking to buy, Mr Gibson says.

“The residential market in Kaikoura is very short on stock because of huge outside interest. There is also significant interest in commercial property, with vacancy currently at zero on West End and developers highly confident about the town’s future.”

Property developers from around the South Island are predicting good future growth in Kaikoura, especially with land values offering excellent value compared with other tourism hot spots like Tekapo, Wanaka and Queenstown, he adds.

“Many property developers and local investors believe Kaikoura has the potential to rival the South Island’s top tourism destinations – with the town centre rebuild well underway, the development of a new coastal cycle path, outdoor sports including skiing and surfing, as well as the town’s many other famous attractions like whale watching.”

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