Darlinghurst auto workshop smashes reserve by $900,000
Flash Auto Repairs in Darlinghurst attracted 12 active bidders on Saturday, with the buyers “a couple of guys” who are set to convert it into a mega warehouse-style home.
The car repair’s workshop at 42 Hardie St, which prompted more than 500 inquiries, sold for $3.905 million — more than $900k above the $3 million guide offered by Raine and Horne Double Bay agents James Nixon and Peter Starr.
They’d had strong interest from returning expats from London, the US and Singapore with big car collections, who were attracted to the graffiti-covered building because they can fit as many as 15 vehicles, on the ground level with the bonus of hoists, and build a grand two-level residence above.
“But in the end the buyers were locals,” says Nixon, who couldn’t reveal their identity due to a confidentiality agreement.
Other sources, who also couldn’t identify the men, say they are set to be selling off a range of other inner-city properties in order to fund the conversion of the mechanics into a unique three-level designer residence.
The building on a 188 sqm block, currently offers 376 sqm of internal space. But with an extra floor it could blow out to a massive 564 sqm residence.
Nixon was surprised to have a dozen register — and all of them compete — as on Friday he’d had only three who’d committed to turning up. But there was a late rush, as buyers recognised the potential.
With auctioneer Damien Cooley presiding, bidding had opened at $2 million. But two $500,000 offers took it to the price guide.
There were then a series of $100,000 and $50,000 bids. And at $3.3 million there was a $200,000 offer taking it to $3.5 million, when it was called onto the market.
This prompted a further volley of bids, including $100,000, $50,000s, $10,000s and $5000s.
The underbidder was one of the London-based expats, who had a buyer’s agent acting for him.
There were also several developers bidding, attracted by the approved plans by award-winning architects McGregor Westlake, to restore the existing building into a ground-floor retail space with eight designer apartments above.
Had this been built, it could have become a six-level building with a common rooftop garden.
The plans allowed for four studios, a one-bedder and three two-bedders.
All the apartments would have had balconies or terraces and the top-floor apartment has its own roof deck.
It was anticipated that the cost of the apartment redevelopment would have been at least $2.5 million.
Even converting the workshop into a single dwelling would surely be at least $1 million, depending on the fitout.
But Nixon suggests McGregor Westlake may be able to adapt their plans to take full advantage of the existing two levels — each with five-metre ceiling heights — and add a third floor above the roofline.
Nixon says he was “shocked” to see the property sell to individuals planning a single home rather than being snapped up by a developer.
“There was a lot of fascination about buying a whole building in Darlinghurst, but a lot were scared off by how much work it would entail,” Nixon says.
Flash Auto Repairs, which has been at the site for 25 years, is still operating. But it’s on an expired month-to-month lease.
This article from the Wentworth Courier originally appeared as “Flash Auto Repairs in Darlinghurst attracts 12 bidders and sells $900k above price guide”.