Woollahra Post Office sells at great price at auction

The Woollahra Post Office last traded at auction in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Two decades later, it has gone under the hammer again …

The Woollahra Post Office last traded at auction in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Last night it went under the hammer again …

The listed 97-99 Queen St building (on the corner of Moncur St) raised a whopping $ 9,625,000 through Ray White Commercial Agent Grant Whiteman, who had provided $ 8m.

Property investor Bob Guth had thrown himself into the landmark auction 20 years ago and paid $ 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 fall of the hammer, he immediately gave it to Ray White auctioneer James Keenan.

“I’m more than happy,” Guth told me this morning.

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“It has been a fantastic investment – I have had it for 20 years and it has been rented virtually uninterruptedly all the time with an excellent return.

“Buyers are buying it with a return of 3.4 percent, so it’s pretty much fair to everyone.”

With four or five entrants, the bidding opened at $ 7 million, and bids of $ 7.1 million and $ 7.2 million followed. There was a $ 8 million bid. then an offer of $ 8.01 million.

Bidding then increased in increments of $ 100,000, $ 50,000 and $ 25,000 all the way to the final price of $ 9,625,000.

It had been called on the market for $ 9 million. The buyer was again a local investor.

The Woollahra Post Office closed its doors in February 2011, but the building is attracting a net income of $ 327,500 from three well-established leases.

Sunman Walker Mallos Solicitors has been on the first floor since 1988 and has a three-year lease with the option to extend by 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 landlord rent because of the mailboxes and mail sorting room that are also on the ground floor.

Before the post office was built, there was a butcher shop on the 405-square-foot block, and Whiteman was amazed to discover a newspaper clipping showing the sides of beef hanging in the open.

The building has amazing heritage features throughout, including ornate high ceilings, cast iron columns, masonry with sandstone details and exposed wooden overhangs.

The property is a passive investment with low maintenance, ideal for self-managed super funds.

The new owner could look at using the first floor for residential purposes when the lease expires.

Originally published as Woollahra Post Office seller for great prices at auction

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