Thursday 24 November 2016

Heritage Costs: Who wants an old church?

Heritage fans have a chance to put their money where their mouths are. A beautiful old rimu church is going for $1 reserve auction.

But it does have a few encumbrances.

If you buy it and keep it on-site, you couldn't use it without strengthening it to meet earthquake code - it's currently at 8% of code. And it's a Category 2 Heritage-listed building, so strengthening will not be cheap as you'd have to find a strengthening solution that makes the Historic Places Trust happy. If you keep it on-site, your final use, at seller's insistence, has to be not incompatible with Christian faith, so I suppose a brothel is out.

If you buy it and want to move it, you'd need to get a resource consent for moving it, and nobody knows how hard that would be given the heritage listing.

TradeMe says it's now sold for $11,100. I wonder if the buyer knows what's coming.

The Q&A on the listing is instructive. Some snippets below. Heritage New Zealand listings really should come with a standing option for the owner to sell the building, and all of its encumbrances, back to Heritage New Zealand, at a pre-set price.

This is a pretty sad case. But if an earthquake hit, it's unlikely that an empty church in a small town would kill people.

There are dozens of buildings in Wellington for which this is not true. The masonry facades will fall off the buildings, onto the street and sidewalk, and kill people. And nobody who made those buildings too hard to fix will face any liability whatsoever for the deaths they will have helped to cause.

sandra18 (1071 1071 positive feedback) 7:41 pm, Sun 20 Nov
A. Thanks for the offer. Does need new piles and maintenance. Congregation mostly old and unable to do the work. Not interested in spending money of a building no longer suitable for current worship 6:43 am, Tue 22 Nov

can we demolish
rottnott1 (197 197 positive feedback) 7:37 pm, Tue 22 Nov
A. The Church building is listed with Heritage NZ and WBOP as category 2. We are attempting to have it de-listed to enable demolition, but Heritage NZ insist on every effort being made to find someone to relocate and restore it. If this is not possible we would be happy to have it demolished. 6:14 am, Wed 23 Nov

what a shame .
thisles5 (3083 3083 positive feedback) 8:31 pm, Tue 22 Nov
A. The shame is that when a building is no longer suitable, and requires more in maintenance than can be afforded by its owners, it can't be got rid of for no other reason than it is old. 6:18 am, Wed 23 Nov

I have just come across this listing. I see there are a few current bidders but no info on who is bidding. I really would like to see this building relocated, restored and put to a worthwhile purpose compatible with its history and Christian faith. Please can this auction auto extend to give time to investigate some possibilities. Bless you.
yas6 (493 493 positive feedback) 10:48 am, Wed 23 Nov
A. We are happy to give as much time as needed for serious developers / restorers. The process of getting resource consents will not be short. 8:25 pm, Wed 23 Nov

Given the removal isn't a fait accompli (you haven't received permission to do this) don't you think you're leading people up the up the garden path with this auction?
nyron (21 21 positive feedback) 9:02 pm, Wed 23 Nov
A. You are right. Removal is not a fait accompli. We are trying to find someone who loves old buildings enough to go through the long process of resource and other consents to achieve relocation. If we can't the old church will continue to deteriorate until it begins to fall down. 8:06 am, Thu 24 Nov

Hello there, can you tell me why rhe church has been unused for so long? Is it unsafe? Thankyou (1038 1038 positive feedback) 10:39 pm, Wed 23 Nov
A. The Church is only 8% of current earthquake standards, requiring re-piling and strengthening before it can be used by the public 8:08 am, Thu 24 Nov

I live in Waihi and am currently bidding. If a listed building, is there a possible grant towards restoration/conversion. If there is any correspondence with regards would this be available to purchaser.
kotkinsmith (2 2 positive feedback) 2:37 am, Thu 24 Nov
A. Heritage NZ and others talk about grants but nothing has materialised 8:10 am, Thu 24 Nov

This trade me listing is very misleading. Firstly it says it is listed with the WBOP District whereas actually it is the HDC and the listing means that it cannot be either demolished or removed without a resource consent. From memory that is a non complying activity in the HDC District Plan, which would not be easy to get.
ugmine (173 173 positive feedback) 6:52 am, Thu 24 Nov
A. You are right on two counts. My mistake. I wrote WBOP instead of HDC. Removal or demolition is non complying. As it stands the church can't be used, demolished or removed. A case can be made for preserving it by relocation, but it will take time and effort. 8:15 am, Thu 24 Nov

Do you have any idea how much the resource consent would cost for removal?
sjr24 (66 66 positive feedback) 8:36 am, Thu 24 Nov
A. No Idea. It depends very much on how long it takes to convince HDC relocation and restoration is the best option 8:45 am, Thu 24 Nov

What would happen if after months/years petitioning to relocate the council / heritage NZ still do not approve it - what then would be the responsibilities of the new owner?
justinsa6 (41 41 positive feedback) 8:47 am, Thu 24 Nov
A. Had not thought that one through. It seems logical to me that if it HDC and Heritage are adamant that it can't be moved it would fall back on us .. and we would leave it to fall to bits 8:50 am, Thu 24 Nov

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