Massey University

PHOTO: Almost all of Massey University’s Albany campus in Auckland could be for sale or rental, along with property in Wellington and Palmerston North, under a new plan to improve its finances. Photo: Google Maps

Massey University is actively seeking to divest a significant portion of its Albany campus, which it has occupied for three decades. The university has initiated a request for proposals from real estate firms, targeting approximately $150 million worth of buildings and land across all three Massey campuses in the upcoming year.

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As part of a broader strategic initiative, Massey University aims to sell or lease surplus properties on its Manawatū (Palmerston North), Albany (Auckland), and Wellington Campuses. The university has invited experienced real estate brokerages to submit proposals to represent Massey in the sale and/or lease of surplus properties, along with additional brokerage services as needed.

The properties in question encompass nine in the Albany campus, including lecture halls and a recreation center, four in Wellington, and nine in Manawatū, comprising two student villages and farmland. Although some properties lack valuation, the combined book value of those assessed stands at $151,213,000, excluding land value.

According to information, the proposed sale would leave the Albany campus primarily with its new sciences building, signaling a potential significant shift in its utilization.

Insiders suggest that recent staff redundancies, which led to the removal of certain subjects from the Albany campus, may be part of a broader strategy to largely exit the campus altogether.

The university aims to commence the divestment process in mid-February, as indicated in the tender document. Recent challenges, including declining foreign and domestic enrollments, have led to financial difficulties for Massey University.

Enrollments at the Albany campus dropped to nearly 3000 full-time equivalents last year, marking a decrease of about 2000 from 2019 levels before the onset of the pandemic.

Massey University, originally established in Palmerston North, expanded with the opening of its Albany campus in March 1993 and later merged with the former Wellington Polytechnic in 1999.

The properties listed in the tender document include student villages, lecture halls, and recreational facilities, among others. The university’s annual report from the previous year valued its total land and buildings at $1.49 billion, including $183 million of Crown-owned assets.

Massey University acknowledges the challenging financial conditions in the tertiary sector and emphasizes the need to reduce costs and generate income for financial stability. The university’s multi-year financial recovery plan includes optimizing the use of its estates across all campuses, leading to the current solicitation of realty services partners. The partnership aims to leverage specialized expertise for active estate management, encompassing land and building utilization, sales, commercial lease agreements, and strategic marketing advice.