Coun­cil-owned villa to go

De­ci­sion on the de­mo­li­tion or re­moval of villa yet to be made

The Northern Advocate - - Front Page - Dan­ica MacLean

An old villa which was the for­mer home of a Whanga¯rei child­care cen­tre is set to go — one way or an­other — from its home on Dent St.

The project to have the site cleared and re­in­state grass was one brought for­ward at a Whanga¯rei District Coun­cil meet­ing last week.

The move coun­ter­acts bud­geted fund­ing for big projects that won’t be spent this fi­nan­cial year due to de­lays in progress. Up to $80,000 has been al­lo­cated.

Coun­cil com­mer­cial prop­erty port­fo­lio man­ager Mike Hib­bert could not con­firm the age of the build­ing but said the coun­cil bought it in 1950. He said the process to clear the site had just started and no time frame had been con­firmed.

De­mo­li­tion and re­moval are both among the op­tions. Hib­bert said the process may de­ter­mine that the re­moval or sale of the build­ing is an op­tion to off­set costs.

“The con­di­tion of the build­ing has been very poor for a num­ber of years.”

Hib­bert said, in 2012 the lease for the build­ing ex­pired and Fo­rum North Child­care, which pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied the build­ing, and the coun­cil started to look at al­ter­na­tive op- por­tu­ni­ties.

“The con­di­tion of the build­ing and the po­ten­tial use of the site for a ho­tel/ ac­com­mo­da­tion de­vel­op­ment were con­sid­ered and coun­cil no­ti­fied the child­care of their in­tent not to look at a new lease.”

He said the abil­ity to de­velop a ho­tel or ac­com­mo­da­tion was ap­proved by coun­cil as a re­sult of a spe­cial con­sul­ta­tive process. The child­care cen­tre then built a new fa­cil­ity on River­side Drive and moved in ear­lier this year.

He said re­turn­ing the site to grass did not mean the end of plans to de­velop a ho­tel on the site.

“A clear site is eas­ier to man­age and more at­trac­tive, es­pe­cially as it is ad­ja­cent to Lau­rie Hall Park.” Hib­bert said the con­di­tion of the build­ing would make it pro­hib­i­tive cost-wise to up­grade to be able to rent it out again.

“Plus coun­cil is still look­ing at the site for po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ment.”

When asked if any of the build­ing would be re­cy­cled, Hib­bert said it would be ex­pected that any value in the build­ing from doors or tim­ber for ex­am­ple would be re­flected in the pro­posed re­moval/ de­mo­li­tion win­ning con­tract.

Photos / John Stone

Whanga¯rei District Coun­cil com­mer­cial prop­erty port­fo­lio man­ager Mike Hib­bert at the build­ing site which will be cleared.

The build­ing has been in very poor con­di­tion for a num­ber of years.

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