Reflections on retirement

In the mid-1970s, there was a building in Colombo Street, Christchurch opposite Ballantynes which had a pharmacy as a tenant. I was with the Fletcher Group at the time and we purchased the building seeing an opportunity to redevelop the property. Unbeknown to us, we had also purchased the pharmacy business!

Consequently when the property settled at 4pm on the appropriate Friday we found we owned a pharmacy! This was an interesting experience.

The former owners of the pharmacy (and the building as it happened) simply removed their pharmacy coats, placed them on the hooks at the back of the door and walked out. They were in “retirement”. The inventory they left behind included product dating back to the Second World War! I had become an instant retailer!

However this story is not so much about a retail or property transaction, but rather about retirement.

Last week we at RCG sent out a media release to announce that I will be retiring as Chairman of RCG effective from the 30th June, 2016. This in itself is no big deal, at some stage in all our respective lives we simply have to move on. In my case, retirement is something our company has pondered on for a long time.

We have a good team of professional people all of whom have a wide range of skills, and the company is in good heart, so no better time really. However, what does "retirement" mean?

For some it is time to sit by the fire and watch the grass grow, whilst for others it’s time for enjoying things we haven’t had the time for. I have been asked “What will you do when you retire?” and it got me thinking. To retire, is just that. It’s about doing things when you want to do them rather than having to do them in a particular time slot. It does not necessarily mean that you will ride off into the sunset never to be seen again, like some 1950s western movie. Or, for that matter, give up everything you have enjoyed.

I will continue to have a role at RCG as a “non-executive” Director. This means that I will continue to have a role to play in the company whilst also enjoying some other business activities in a time environment that suits me.

So come the end of June, I will pause and take a break, before starting on my next “career path”.

by Paul Keane, executive chairman

Sharewatch | Argosy

Like the other property companies on the NZX, Argosy Property has had a good year, with valuations up in most cases, and smaller increases in income. Its portfolio is now valued at $1.368 billion, up from $1.306 million last year.

Argosy are firmly slanted towards the Auckland and Wellington markets – which make up 94% of their portfolio – but they have a wide range of property types. Office makes up the largest component, at $549 million, followed by industrial at $507 million and retail at $312 million.

Properties are further divided into “core”, which are reliable long-term investments, and “value add” properties, which make up a smaller part of the portfolio and can hopefully become “core” in the future. Some properties which don’t fall into either category are up for sale.

Argosy comments that “the industrial sector remains in good heart”, whereas “the office sector is set to experience an oversupply in both Auckland and Wellington” in the next few years. “The retail sector is showing continued pressure from internet sales”, although some development continues.

Argosy don’t own as much retail property as they used to, but they still have several large format properties and centres – the largest being Albany Mega Centre and Albany Lifestyle Centre. Some of the key office properties are NZ Post House in Wellington (currently undergoing a major rebuild), 8 Nugent Street in Grafton (recently acquired from Neil Group), and Citibank Centre in Auckland Central (currently adding a laneway).


In the press

Local and international media highlights 01 Jun - 08 Jun 2016

Commercial Bay unveils H & M, HSBC tenants
One of the world's biggest clothing retailers has signed up for Auckland's new $681 million 39-level waterfront tower, Commercial Bay. Scott Pritchard, Precinct Properties NZ chief executive, this morning told the NZX that H&M had leased space in the tower, about to rise on the Downtown shopping centre site between Lower Queen St and Lower Albert St. HSBC is moving into one of the existing buildings on the site. On Saturday, the 70-store Downtown Mall shut to make way for construction of the new tower, which forms part of the wider Commercial Bay development. "H&M and HSBC are both internationally recognised brands and we're delighted with their early commitment to Commercial Bay," said Pritchard.
(Source: NZ Herald)

Big plans to rescue Christchurch's lower High St
Experienced property developers are stepping in to help rescue lower High St, the last block of central Christchurch still closed since the earthquakes. The heritage strip between St Asaph and Tuam streets remains fenced off with individual owners struggling to get their precarious buildings repaired. Some of the land, which is within the innovation precinct, is Crown-owned. Two successful heritage investors and developers, Shaun Stockman and Richard Peebles, have now hatched plans for the strip. Peebles wants the Crown to sell him seven of the 16 terraced Duncan's buildings which occupy most of the Edwardian street front, and already has restoration plans for them. Stockman has bought back the site of the razed Billens building from Christchurch Heritage Trust and has resource consent to rebuild it.
(Source: The Press)

Towering project sets out to redefine Auckland skyline
A record-breaking new skyscraper is planned for Auckland. The Weekend Herald can reveal detailed plans for "Customs Residential" - a spectacular 50-storey building in the heart of the CBD. At an impressive 192m, the only part of the cityscape taller than the Customs St monster would be the top of the iconic SkyTower, which stands at 328m and is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere. The ambitious high rise would still set a new benchmark as the tallest office or residential building in New Zealand. The cost of the project is unknown, but plans show it is taller than both the $675 million One Mills Lane office block planned for Albert St and the $681 million Commercial Bay tower, tagged as the country's most expensive office development. A comprehensive resource consent application, including architectural drawings and an assessment of environmental effects, has been filed with Auckland Council. If the project gets the green light, it will redefine the Auckland skyline.
(Source: NZ Herald)

North Shore mall sold for $90 million
An Australian entrepreneur specialising in mall upgrades has paid about $90 million for Takapuna's Shore City Shopping Centre where more shops and new apartments might rise. Precision Group, owned by Sydney-based property entrepreneur Shaun Bonett, has made its first New Zealand purchase, buying from Aviva Investors Asia Property fund. The deal was funded by Bank of China. The 14,000sq m mall on a 1.2ha site has a two-level Farmers and 74 shops. "The site was marketed for sale with potential for a significant redevelopment to possibly include a new multi-level shopping centre and up to 360 apartments in two major residential towers above," Precision said.
(Source: NZ Herald)

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