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Anyone converting a queenslander (2 levels) into office space

Discussion in 'Commercial Property' started by sleekgeek, 30th Jul, 2016.

  1. sleekgeek

    sleekgeek Active Member

    Joined:
    1st Jul, 2015
    Posts:
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    Location:
    Cairns
    Hello. First post in commercial as I have been looking at resi so far as a first IP...

    I came across a residential home, and noticed all other homes and lots on this block have been converted to office space. this is literally the last of residential lots and so I would imagine there would be something worth looking into, but I don't know much about.

    What would be the rough costs or things to consider to convert this 3 bdr queenslander to office space?
    - The ground level is still just car space and would need walls, electrical etc put in.
    - The final product would have both levels leased out to 2 or 3 office spaces.
    - I would be also considering moving here as a first home in the meantime and get FHOG and use it as residential if needed. Could I still live upstairs and lease downstairs as office space once converted?

    Finances
    - Residential home estimate would be 500k and i have preapproval for a residential approx 600k. Is conversion even something looking into considering my current finances?

    Would like to know thoughts or experiences

    Thank you
     
  2. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney or NSW or Australia
    What is the zoning? Is office use permissible or must it be home office?

    I was recently dealing with a site in Darwin CBD which had been used for commercial but no approvals had ever been sought, so I had to get the usage approved. The zoning allowed commercial used (Tourist Zone), residential was not a permitted use (except as a hotel), heritage building meant that requirement for the provision of parking were greatly reduced.
     
  3. Foxy Moron

    Foxy Moron Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Regional QLD
    Hi Sleekgeek
    In my book it could be well worth your while investigating this one, but you will definitely need to engage the services of a good town planner early as part of your DD. You can at least do some things yourself though – ie find out the present zoning as Scott has mentioned. Hopefully commercial usage is allowed, and you would like to think the neighbouring offices have gained proper approvals to conduct businesses on their lots.

    The fact that you could reside there while you get necessary approvals in place is a bonus. If its just resi use now, you would normally need to submit a MCU application with council. These means you would be up for some element of infrastructure charges (though you may get credit for the 3BR existing house) plus getting all building matters up to code standard. This includes consideration of things such as parking, wheelchair access, width of hallways, firesafety etc. If you were exceptionally lucky you may be able to become compliant self-assessable without the need for a formal application but I wouldn’t count on that, particularly for a 2 story building – access could be tricky. So you will have DA costs and building costs to consider. You also need to research likely rental demand for the finished product. This can also be tricky as most small businesses that might want to occupy this type of thing will likely want to own their own premises, so seek knowledge of the local commercial market asap to ensure its worthwhile doing. But rewards could be good if it all stacks up. One I’m doing atm is a single level building which is likely a much cleaner exercise.
    I'm not so fussed on resi on top, business below unless the resident actually runs the business eg gallery etc.
    One option for you may be to move in, obtain approvals, then sell on to a business owner without doing any construction work at all. You need to live somewhere in any case right ?
    Disclaimer – ratbag opinion only, this fox not licensed to dispense planning or investment advice.
     
    Last edited: 30th Jul, 2016
  4. sleekgeek

    sleekgeek Active Member

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    Cairns
    I had a quick look online and it is a commercial zone. Other lots on the block are established shops,offices and health services

    Reading about at your experience I'll double check what other zoning is applicable. Might need to contact a town planner?
     
  5. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    @RPI - don't you have an office up that way (Qld)?

    @sleekgeek - you may get some issues with finance as your zoning is commercial not residential. @Corey Batt or @Rolf Latham or one of the other MB may be abe to add their expertise.
     
    Last edited: 31st Jul, 2016
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  6. RPI

    RPI Property Lawyer, Town Planner Business Member

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    Brisbane
    Cheers Scott.

    PM me the address and I will come back to you through here (sans identifying info) and let you know what you can do and what the application and council costs are likely to be for the site
     
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  7. sleekgeek

    sleekgeek Active Member

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    Location:
    Cairns
    I have pretty much this feeling too in regards to getting matters to code standard.

    Thanks for this advice Foxy, businesses which actually want to own premises never crossed my mind, who would've thought.

    Yes, we all need shelter :) It helps that place is on the same block where I work.
     
  8. RPI

    RPI Property Lawyer, Town Planner Business Member

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    I haven't done anything in Cairns in the new plan and being a Sunday am not going to disturb guys from my office who have..

    BUT below should be accurate anyway

    The site is located in the mixed use precinct 1 - commercial

    http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/163385/6.2.14-Mixed-use-zone-code.pdf

    The application fees are $1,505 for the first 100m2 and $316 for each addition 100m2 or part thereof (note that this is just for the application stage, there will be more in compliance assessment and building certification)

    http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/2367/FeesDevAssess.pdf

    infrastructure contributions of $119/m2 plus $8.5/m2
     
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  9. sleekgeek

    sleekgeek Active Member

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    Location:
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    Thanks for helping isolate these documents, it is appreciated
     
  10. Jess Peletier

    Jess Peletier Mortgage Broker - Australia Wide Business Member

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    Perth WA
    If it's zoned commercial you'll be needing a much bigger deposit than normal Resi - most likely around 30% plus closing costs.
     
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