Band-aid for Building 5
AN HISTORIC hospital building threatened with demolition could be restored and reopened for just over $4 million.
A new architect’s report shows restoring the Greenlane Clinical Centre’s Building 5 would only be slightly more expensive than knocking it down and rebuilding.
The Auckland District Health Board is now calling for proposals for refurbish- ment and long-term lease of the building.
The board had planned to knock down the century-old hospital ward to make way for carparks.
Heritage campaigner Helen Geary, who delayed demolition with an 11th hour appeal, says it’s a positive development.
But she won’t celebrate until the building’s future is secure.
“I only crack out the champagne when the resource consent for demolition has been withdrawn and the building has been scheduled by the council as a historic building,” she says.
The architect’s report, jointly funded by the health board, Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council, estimated the cost of refurbishment and structural upgrade at $3.4m.
Extra costs including consultant fees are likely to take the figure to more than $4m. Fitting out the building for a tenant is estimated to cost a further $1m.
Knocking down the former hospital ward and rebuilding on the same footprint would cost only slightly less.
Health board general counsel Bruce Northey says the board never planned to rebuild, and early estimates for demolition alone were about $150,000.
“The board’s position hasn’t changed,” he says.
“We have no need to build new office space, we have more capacity than we can see we’ll have a need for in the medium term.”
Any new tenant would need to fit within a hospital setting and obtain all consents needed.
“Running a restaurant or bar are the obvious ones that wouldn’t fit,” Mr Northey says.
The board agreed in March to a two-year reprieve for Building 5 after intervention from the regional council and Auckland mayor John Banks.
Health board chairman Pat Snedden says they’re now committed to exploring all options to secure the building’s future.
“We are hopeful that even in the current economic climate that our initiative will attract a positive response,” he says.
The city council is still considering a plan change which would schedule the building for protection under the district plan.
A council spokeswoman says the plan change is likely to go to a hearing early next year.