St Hilda's Collegiate School is selling a million-dollar-plus
historic Heriot Row property it bought less than a year ago
after buying another property in the street.
Principal Melissa Bell said the board was selling 26 Heriot
Row - otherwise known as Ritchie House - because it had
bought 16 Heriot Row, which is directly beside the school.
She said the school was on a ''very tight site'' and had been
looking to expand its premises for several years.
It had long been interested in 16 Heriot Row, but the
property had not come on the market until now.
''Strategically, it's a more useful property for us because
it's on the existing school block, rather than having to
cross the road.''
Buying Ritchie House had been a good option for the school at
the time, but 16 Heriot Row, which was a similar sized site
and came with a ''decent'' amount of land, was too good an
opportunity to pass up.
She said the plan for the site was to build a visual arts
centre, with exhibition space, because the school's present
facilities were not coping with demand for visual arts
School board of proprietors chairwoman Gaye Cowie said the
school took possession of 16 Heriot Row yesterday.
The board was still deciding what to do with the whole site,
although a visual arts centre was a priority because the arts
were becoming an area of strength for the school.
She could not say how much the property cost the school or
estimate how much the centre would cost to build.
No decision had been made on whether a house on the property
would stay or be demolished.
In the interim, she said the board would continue to rent the
16-bedroom Ritchie House to the present tenants during 2014
and was advertising rooms for 2015, which would make it a
more viable opportunity.
The school had starting looking into the options for the
house, including making it into accommodation for
But bringing it to the desired standard for that would be
Mrs Cowie did not disclose how much the school paid for the
0.1012ha Ritchie House, although it was referred to at a
recent city council hearing about the removal of protected
tree next door, as a ''$1.5 million house''.
It was advertised for sale at $1.55 million.
The house was completed in 1914 and is one of 84 designed by
architect Basil Hooper (1876-1960) who specialised in
ecclesiastical and domestic architecture.
It was built for George Ritchie, the manager of the National
Mortgage and Agency Company, director of other prominent
businesses, and son of J. M. Ritchie, an important business
leader in colonial New Zealand.
A decision on the removal of the protected tree is expected
later this week.