The Woollahra Post Office last traded at auction in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Last night, it went under the hammer again …
The heritage-listed building at 97-99 Queen St (on the corner of Moncur St) fetched a whopping $9,625,000 via Ray White Commercial agent Grant Whiteman, who had been guiding $8m.
The property investor owner, Bob Guth, had pounced on the landmark site at auction 20 years ago, paying $3,185,000 on October 16, 2001.
Last night he was so excited about the result that when he was presented with a bottle of Champagne after the gavel fell, he immediately handed it to Ray White auctioneer James Keenan.
“I’m more than satisfied,” Guth told me this morning.
“It’s been a great investment — I’ve had it for 20 years and it’s been rented pretty much continually for the whole time, with an excellent return.
“The buyers are purchasing it with a 3.4 per cent return, so it’s pretty much fair for everyone.”
With four or five registered, bidding opened at $7m and offers of $7.1m and $7.2m followed. There was a vendor bid of $8m; then an offer of $8.01m.
Bidding then rose in $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000 increments all the way to final price of $9,625,000.
It had been called onto the market at $9m. The buyer was once again a local investor.
Woollahra Post Office shut its doors in February 2011, but the building attracts a net income of $327,500 from three long-established tenancies.
Sunman Walker Mallos Solicitors have been on the first floor since 1988 and have a three-year lease with an option to extend for a further three.
Bonhams (London based International Auction House) is on the ground floor and on a three-year lease.
And Australia Post still pays the landlord rent because of the post boxes and mail sorting room that’s also on the ground floor.
Before the post office was built, there was a butcher’s shop on the 405 sqm block and Whiteman was amazed to discover a newspaper clipping showing the sides of beef hanging in the open.
The building has stunning heritage features throughout, including ornate high ceilings, cast iron columns, brickwork with sandstone detailing and exposed timber eaves.
The property is a low maintenance passive investment, ideal for self-managed superfunds.
The new owner could look at using the first floor for residential purposes once the lease expires.