Old Sofrana House
BUILT AS A WAREHOUSE FOR WATCH AND JEWELLERY IMPORTERS P. HAYMAN & CO, THE DESIGN OF THIS GRAND OLD BUILDING EARNED ITS ARCHITECT A GOLD WATCH.
In 1898 London-based merchants Henry and Lachlan Hayman leased this vacant site on Customs Street East. They commissioned John Currie to design a warehouse for the Auckland branch of their family firm P. Hayman & Co, which traded in watches, jewellery, crockery, musical instruments, stationery, saddlery and household items.
The Haymans paid £12,000 for the building and rewarded Currie for its design with the finest gold watch in their establishment. The property remained in the Hayman family’s hands until 1935, when the lease was sold for £8000.
Names and lights
A succession of tenants followed before the building was reopened in 1970 as Columbus House. It received its current name in the 1980s when it was leased by shipping company Sofrana Immobilier Ltd. In 1992 it was transferred to Auckland City Council and Auckland Regional Council.
Today Old Sofrana House has been cleaned out and is leased on an interim basis to outdoor store Macpac and a number of creative and design-based businesses. It will be fully renovated as part of the Britomart redevelopment programme.
Old Sofrana House is presently the site of a light installation by artist John Radford. Entitled Lux Flux, it consists of 200 randomly illuminating bulbs that highlight the building's architectural features at night.
IN THIS BUILDING
Find Old Sofrana House
14-18 Customs Street East