Band-aid for Build­ing 5

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

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.

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