Dunedin's Bell Tea building, on the corner of Hope and
Carroll Sts, has been sold. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Dunedin's distinctive 90-year-old Bell Tea building has
been sold to Dunedin developer Peter Gullen, who says it was a
Mr Gullen, known for building flats and townhouses around the
city, was reluctant to go into plans for the building, but
said he first ''wanted to get it earthquake proof and save
The building was sold by its previous owners because of the
potential for an earthquake proofing bill of more than $1
million, which made it commercially unviable for them.
Mr Gullen had admired the building for several years, but
said it was a ''spur-of-the-moment purchase'', after having
only been through it a week earlier.
''It's a bit more daunting, now that I've had time to look at
it,'' he said when contacted yesterday.
When asked if the building use could be turned to apartments,
industrial or office space, he said ''possibly, but I haven't
looked at that [options] yet''.
The combined capital values of both Hope St titles was
$545,000 and the purchase price was understood to be less
than that figure.
Bayleys commercial, industrial and retail agent Robin Hyndman
said there had been ''good interest''in the building, more
than 20 site visits and four tender offers lodged.
Supermarket chain Foodstuffs bought the Bell Tea Company in
1962 and ran it as a separate business from its retail
outlets, before selling it to Wellington investment company
Pencarrow Private Equity in October last year.
However, it was closed earlier this year with the loss of 10
jobs, because of earthquake-strengthening costs for the
Also just sold were Bell's three large East Tamaki
properties, in Auckland, valued in total at more than $11
million, and collectively returning more than $1.1 million in