Facelift to give new life to his­toric build­ing

Central Leader - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

A cen­tury-old build­ing in­te­gral to Mt Eden’s past is about to get a facelift.

Work is un­der way to earth­quake strengthen and ren­o­vate Nes­field House, at 62-64 Val­ley Rd, to cre­ate six res­i­den­tial apart­ments.

The sched­uled Her­itage B build­ing is made up of the for­mer Mt Eden Bor­ough Coun­cil cham­bers, built in 1912, and the Mt Eden Fire Sta­tion which was added in 1925. Di­a­betes Auck­land sold the site to WJ In­vest­ments late last year for an undis­closed sum.

A re­source con­sent show­ing plans to ren­o­vate the ex­ist­ing struc­ture and turn it into apart­ments has been granted by the coun­cil.

And the end re­sult should be a com­mu­nity gem, di­rec­tor War­wick Gold­smith says.

He re­fuses to say how much the company will look to sell the six apart­ments for when they are com­plete by the end of 2015.

The site’s 2014 cap­i­tal value is $2.4 mil­lion – up from $2m in 2011.

‘‘The build­ings have had close to 100 years, there’s no rea­son why they shouldn’t have another hun­dred. I think it’s a value to any com­mu­nity to pre­serve as much of its her­itage as it can.

‘‘Par­tic­u­larly in the cur­rent cli­mate, that’s a bit anti-her­itage build­ings.’’

Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board chair­man Peter Haynes says the ren­o­va­tion will se­cure the build­ing’s fu­ture.

The work will also bring the build­ings closer to their orig­i­nal her­itage, he says.

‘‘We should be en­joy­ing th­ese her­itage build­ings for a long time to come. They’re dear to ev­ery­one’s heart.’’

The project should be a les­son to other his­toric build­ing own­ers, her­itage ar­chi­tect Jackie Gil­lies says.

The num­ber of old New Zealand build­ings that could be lost be­cause of the per­ceived dif­fi­culty of earth­quake strength­en­ing is a real con­cern, she says.

‘‘This project is re­ally go­ing against some­thing of a tide of un­sym­pa­thetic feel­ings to­wards his­toric build­ings be­cause of the earth­quake strength­en­ing is­sue.

‘‘So many his­toric build­ings will be lost in the next gen­er­a­tion and a suc­cess story like this is re­ally im­por­tant to cel­e­brate.’’

Jen­nifer Han­son of A Stu­dio Ar­chi­tects says a lot of the de­sign work cel­e­brates the build­ing’s his­tory.

The team is hop­ing to get the build­ing con­sent ap­proved within a month so con­struc­tion can start in early 2015, she says.

‘‘At the mo­ment we’re strip­ping it all back to the orig­i­nal bones so we can see what’s there.’’

The more re­cent ad­di­tions, in­clud­ing a 1970s link be­tween the build­ings, in­ter­nal par­ti­tions and the car park­ing area, were de­mol­ished as part of the seis­mic up­grad­ing.

A coun­cil spokesman says the de­mo­li­tion work was fully sup­ported by coun­cil her­itage spe­cial­ists.

‘‘Auck­land Coun­cil be­lieves the project rep­re­sents a good so­lu­tion to earth­quake strength­en­ing and fully util­is­ing a her­itage build­ing,’’ he says.

New look: Six apart­ments will grace the her­itage build­ing by the end of 2015.

The Mt Eden Fire Sta­tion was built in 1925.

Photo: LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

Prime spot: Nes­field House, on the busy cor­ner of Val­ley Rd, is be­ing earth­quake strength­ened and ren­o­vated.

Old days:

Peter Haynes

War­wick Gold­smith

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