New life for old building

The New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Ltd building in Thomas Burns St, which will be redeveloped. Photo supplied.
The New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Ltd building in Thomas Burns St, which will be redeveloped. Photo supplied.
More than a decade after its last tenants left, new life will be breathed into the historic New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Ltd building in Dunedin.

The exterior of the category two, 1872 building will be restored and the second floor redeveloped into a 24-unit apartment complex if a proposed resource consent application is approved, owner Russell Lund says.

''The building is protected so we won't alter the outside to any great degree,'' he said.

While the proposal was a ''fairly major'' redevelopment, the ''guiding principle'' was to reveal and celebrate the harbourside building's historic character, he said.

As well as restoration work on the outside of the building, the proposal would include having windows cut into the second floor of the building on its north, west and east sides.

The resource consent application also proposes the addition of a car park at the building's north end and the demolition of a concrete block extension built in 1965.

Mr Lund said the project had been coming for some time, but Betterways Advisory Ltd's decision not to build a 28-storey hotel on Wharf St created the right ''opportunity''.

''We held off for a couple of years waiting to see what was going to happen to the hotel,'' he said.

''We supported that [project], but there's always an opportunity when things don't happen.''

The Loan and Mercantile building had been untenanted since 1999, he said.

''You can't just have a building sitting empty indefinitely.

''We have been thinking about it [the redevelopment] for a while, but we think the time is right.''

Dunedin City Council heritage policy planner Glen Hazelton was pleased to learn of the proposal, but said he had not seen a specific plan.

''It's definitely going to be great to see that building used after such a long time ... vacant,'' he said.

Its redevelopment needed to recognise it was a ''really important building to the Dunedin cityscape''.

The second floor would contain 11 three-bedroom units and 13 studio units aimed at the ''high-end of the market''.

Mr Lund would not disclose the cost of the proposed redevelopment. He said it was undecided how the ground and first floors would be used.

Work would begin ''as soon as possible if we get resource consent,'' he said.

Mr Hazelton said until the council looked at the proposal it would not know if the consent should be publicly notified.

Attempts to contact Heritage New Zealand last night were unsuccessful.

-timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

Better than a vacant building

You are absolutely correct, TimA, however it turns out, it will be better than a vacant or neglected building--there are already far too many of these in Dunedin. It's just the Bank of New Zealand building on Princes St has set the bar so high for renovations and restorations.

We are lucky to be surrounded by an abundance of heritage architecture, a point driven home for me when I visited the centre of Christchurch last year. They lost so much.

This is great news

This is great news and if the new windows are in the top storey - the 2nd floor, then there all will be well. The north face is fronted by a rather dull single storey building while the east face has something like a terrace of mews running along it. If the demolition is restricted to the building on the north face then this could be an excellent development.

There appears to be a two-storeyed arch on the north wall of the buiding, now masked by its neighbour. This could be made a window too, perhaps. 

Building and the portside area

The entry for the former New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Ltd building (No. 4755) includes a description of its history and significance. (Link

The entry for the Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area (No. 7767) describes the attributes and significance of our industrial portside area. Of interest to those wanting to visit sites and learn more about local businesses and the Port of Dunedin since the time of harbour reclamation. (Link)

 

 

New windows

From what I understand the new windows are on the upper storey. The upper storey was added in the 1920s (I am prepared to be corrected on the date) and the windows will replace brick infills that can be seen around this upper storey.

 

Great news

I hope this will be a catalyst to further development in the area.  I for one am not the least bit concerned about the creation of new windows.  As it stands this building is not in its original state and any modifcation that will enable and adapative use is preferable to leaving the building vacant.

Restoration?

This is a beautiful old building with a prime spot near the harbour. Will this be a restoration respecting the original historic facade or an alteration? According to this article:

As well as restoration work on the outside of the building, the proposal would include having windows cut into the second floor of the building on its north, west and east sides. 

Hopefully, these modifications will respect and retain the architectural integrity of the original design. The second floor of this building already has distinctively arched windows. The windows on the first floor are more ordinary. 

Good news, maybe

Excellent news. So long as the developers and future tenants remember it borders an industrial zone which employs lots of people. Some readers might recall the fate of Arc cafe which was forced to close due to sound complaints by new apartment dwellers. Suffice to say I hope your plans for sound proofing are of the highest order. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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