Eltham Municipal Building sold to private developer for renovations

Eltham Municipal Building sold to private developer for renovations

Eltham’s historic Municipal Building has been sold to a private developer who plans to earthquake strengthen and renovate the building.

The new owner, experienced property developer Dean Martin, understands the value of the building to the community and is excited about giving the old building new life.

“I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and have already had engineers do some initial assessments of the exterior, although I’d expect it’ll be a solid year of preparation before the major earthquake strengthening can start taking place. In the meantime, the exterior will get a fresh coat of paint in the new year.”

Dean says he has a local couple setting up a second hand and up-cycling business downstairs and plans to reinstate and renovate the two, two-bedroom apartments upstairs.

“Anyone who wants to stop by and share a few memories, stories or maybe some old photos of the building are more than welcome.”

The category II listed building was built in 1911, however, since local government amalgamation in 1989 and due to the building’s size, age and unsuitability, community use has dwindled over the last 30 years.

In 2018 the Municipal Building was closed to the public following a detailed seismic assessment which rated the building at only 8 per cent of the New Building Standard. The cost to strengthen and upgrade the building was conservatively estimated to be up to $1.7 million.

With such a high cost and low community use and following a recommendation from the Eltham-Kaponga Community Board, the South Taranaki District Council made the decision in June 2020 to put the building up for sale for a nominal sum, on condition that the buyer had the intent and means to strengthen the building.

Eltham councillors Steffy Mackay and Mark Bellringer were particularly delighted with the sale and plan Martin has for renovating.

“We advocated very strongly for a suitable buyer to be found for the building and we are really pleased to have found someone with experience and a proven track record. We welcome him to the Eltham community.”

South Taranaki Mayor Phil Nixon says this was a great outcome for Eltham and the community is looking forward to seeing the progress made on strengthening and refurbishing the magnificent old building.

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