NZ shopping mall sells at auction for the price of a houseSouth City Mall received a $250,000 upgrade in 2015. Photo: Phil McCarthy, Fairfax NZ

NZ shopping mall sells at auction for the price of a house

The only shopping mall in Invercargill’s has been snapped up for a bargain price by a mystery bidder.

The renovated South City Mall sold at auction for $NZ1.8 million ($1.68 million) on Wednesday at Harcourts’ Invercargill office.

While that may seem like a lot of money, think about what it would – or wouldn’t – get you elsewhere.

In Invercargill it could get you this main street shop – just. The building, considerably smaller than the mall, sold six months ago. It was listed at $NZ1.05 million.

Main street shop in Invercargill.

It wouldn’t get you the former home of internet tycoon Kim Dotcom, which is currently on offer for $NZ35 million.

The former home of internet tycoon Kim Dotcom is currently on offer for $35 million.

But it would get you a modest three-bedroom house in Beach Haven, on Auckland’s North Shore, and leave you some change.

A modest three-bedroom house in Beach Haven, on Auckland's North Shore. Photo: Supplied

In Rotorua, you could grab this mini-mall – twice over. The corner property, which houses six shops, is on the market for $NZ850,000.

In Rotorua, you could grab this mini-mall - twice over. The corner property, which houses six shops, is on the market for $NZ850,000.

WHO BOUGHT THE SOUTHERN MALL?

Auctioneer Sean Bellew​ said he could not reveal who the buyer was, but he believed he was a local man from a rural background.

He said the man paid a $100,000 deposit in cash.

It was the largest cash deposit Bellew said he had ever seen.

“We had to count it three times.”

The man, who left as soon as the auction concluded, asked to remain anonymous, Bellew said.

“He’d been working towards the project for a while.”

The auction began with an asking price of $1.1 million, which quickly rose in $100,000 increments to $1.6 million.

Once the bid reached $1.6 million, the man, who eventually won the auction, was taken to a private room by Bellew, Professionals Real Estate Agent Trevor Thayer​ and Harcourts agent David McKillop, and a number of Harcourts staff.

The group returned after about 10 minutes, with Bellew announcing the bid had been raised to $1.8 million.

Bellew then asked for the bid to be raised by $1. After asking three times, down went his wooden hammer.

The auction’s 16 attendees cheered.

The sale was “very good” for Invercargill, Bellew said.

The mall’s sale also was key for the South City area, Bellew said.

NATIONAL INTEREST

Prior to the auction, the mall attracted the eye of a potential buyer from Auckland.

Thayer said the investor walked through the mall on Tuesday.

A couple of others had looked at the property, but some were not keen on the auction process, Thayer said. ​

The mall, the only shopping mall in Invercargill, was purchased by Contel Holdings Ltd in 1993.

It underwent a $250,000 renovation in 2015.

Improvements included upgrading the roof and new interior and exterior paint.

In April, Invercargill City Council chief executive Richard King said the council would consider buying the mall if it received a proposal from staff.

South Alive chair Robyn Hickman said the organisation’s base and art gallery space was secured in the mall regardless of who purchased it.

The community organisation had a lease that did not expire until July 2017, which could be extended by up to three one-year rights of renewal, she said.

Thayer said some of the mall’s tenants, such as the Pawn Shop, had grown, but others might need to consider downsizing.

He said the mall could be adapted further to meet the needs of tenants.

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