The Dunedin City Council has approved nearly $60,000 in rates
relief and heritage fund grants for the earthquake
strengthening of three commercial buildings in George St.
A total of $21,000 in rates relief and $19,000 heritage fund
grants for this year was awarded to the owners of buildings
at 218, 284 and 371 George St by the full council in the
non-public part of its meeting last week.
Another $17,000 in rates relief for two of the buildings was
granted for the next two years.
Economic development unit manager Peter Harris said some
might view rates relief as a cost to ratepayers, but the
council viewed it as an investment.
Those awarded it would pay much more in rates in the long
term for reuse or expansion than they would if they did not
do the extra work.
"It's a vote of confidence from the council really."
The grants reflected the continuation of the council's focus
on providing assistance to heritage building owners to reuse
and earthquake strengthen their buildings, he said.
Since 2010, the council had been more active in awarding
rates relief to heritage building owners and much of the
total relief granted since then had gone in that direction.
Projects considered have to exceed a $100,000 threshold and
involve substantial investment into restoring and reusing a
In 2010 and 2011, a total of $67,525 in rates relief was
allocated to nine heritage reuse projects, ranging from $592
a year for the Stavely building in Jetty St, to $5627 a year
for the former BNZ building in Princes St.
Projects to receive rates relief support so far this year
include the A.H. Reed building in Crawford St, the former
Dunedin Prison and commercial buildings in Princes and George
About $47,000 still remains unallocated from this year's
$100,000 rates relief fund.
Many building owners who received rates relief for restoring
heritage buildings also gained grants for the same purpose
from the Dunedin Heritage Fund.
So far for the 2012-13 year, most of the $55,000 awarded from
the $80,000 in that fund has been to assist earthquake
Mr Harris said the successful application by the owners of
the buildings reflected the council's strategy to recognise
the value that restoration and reuse of heritage buildings
offered the city, both in a heritage and economic sense.