Case Study: Site Selection for Waitomo Energy Limited

How to find the right premises

Site Selection - Waitomo

Site Selection: Finding the right premises for South Island Expansion

If you’ve ever been on a classic road trip through New Zealand’s North Island – then you’ve most likely seen a Waitomo petrol station. Waitomo have been operating multiple self-service petrol station sites in the North Island since 1947 and decided they wanted to expand into the South Island. This would make their fuel available from Paihia to Dunedin.

When Waitomo made the decision to expand into the South Island, it brought onboard Marcus and Proactive Property Group, based upon his site selection expertise expanding retail networks in New Zealand and Australia.

Marcus was tasked with finding premises and negotiating leases or acquisitions for those premises.

Actions Taken:

Marcus planned the site selection process, then sourced premises, and negotiated on behalf of Waitomo Energy to get them the best possible premises on the best possible terms that would fuel and propel them into the future for another 70 years.

The first step in the site selection process was for Marcus to engage with Waitomo to define its desired locations within the South Island and to define its premises requirements.

The next step was to identify potential premises within each desired location. This was done through a combination of site visits and engaging with real estate agents and other property contacts including property managers, landlords, solicitors and accountants. Consistent engagement with this network of contacts resulted in potential premises being identified.

The majority of identified premises were not listed for lease or sale and were “off-market”. 

Once the premises were identified, they were then qualified against the premises brief, before being submitted to Waitomo for review and shortlisting.

Once premise was shortlisted in the site selection process, Marcus then negotiated the commercial terms to lease or acquire the site.

This involved negotiating the key commercial terms  with the landlord or vendor then working with the real estate agent or solicitors to document the key commercial terms in an Agreement to Lease or Agreement for Sale and Purchase.

The Client Outcome:

Proactive Property Group undertook the site selection for Waitomo to source and secure its new South Island self service petrol station premises.

This was done by identifying and targeting potential locations which would be suitable for a petrol station, then engaging with owners and tenants to explore opportunities to locate a Waitomo petrol station on site.

Some of the transactions that Marcus negotiated involved sourcing sites in tightly held areas on more competitive commercial terms than competitors including:

Site 1:

  • Sourced site off market.
  • Site was twice the size as competitor (more revenue).
  • Initial rent was 25% cheaper than competitor.
  • $376,000 occupancy saving over lease term.

Site 2:

  • Sourced site off market.
  • Optimal location benefiting from new motorway connection.
  • Reconfigured existing tenancies and buildings on site to create a forecourt opportunity.

Site 3:

  • Sourced site off market.
  • Creative site solution in tightly held rural location.
  • Below market rental.

Overall, Waitomo Energy have been able to fuel many more Kiwi road trips and will continue to do so with their expansion into the South Island through proactive site selection to find the right premises.

“Marcus has been invaluable in helping Waitomo locate, source and qualify sites and negotiate commercial terms for our leases and acquisitions.

I was impressed by Marcus' ability to source qualified sites that were off market that met our particular requirements, to negotiate favourable lease terms for us, to work with our lawyers to document the agreed commercial terms into our Agreements to Lease, and liaise with our prospective landlords to execute the Agreements and enable our due diligence requirements to be met.

Marcus' persistence and tenacity in sourcing qualified sites for Waitomo has paid off in terms on money and time. I would recommend Marcus to any retailer, hospitality, or location-based business looking for sites to expand its business.”

Simon Parham
Chief Operating Officer

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