A key building in Dunedin's warehouse precinct is set to take
on a new lease of life over the next few months, as a new
owner moves in.
The A. H. Reed Building, on the corner of Jetty and Crawford
streets, has been bought by Dunedin-born, Perth-based
businessman Roger Bray, who plans to convert it into half a
dozen apartments, possibly some office space and a cafe on
the downstairs corner.
Mr Bray's son, Dunedin builder Neville Bray, will manage the
restoration of the 120-year-old building over the next six to
Roger Bray, who left Dunedin in 1983 and has since lived and
worked around the world in a career in the oil and gas
industry, said he planned to take an apartment in the
There was already interest in a couple of the corner rooms in
the building and the plan was to build a penthouse apartment.
He said he was looking for a place to live in Dunedin and
when he saw the building, ''I fell in love with the old
''I was born here, I have family here, I am looking forward
to moving back, and this building is beautiful.
''She has lovely bones.''
The building was bought in 2012 by heritage building
developer Lawrie Forbes, who fixed a crumbling exterior wall
of the building, using a grant from the Dunedin City
Council's heritage reuse fund, and received rates relief, to
save it from demolition.
Mr Forbes said he would have loved to restore the building
himself, but put it on the market because he had since bought
derelict ship Te Whaka and the Athenaeum building in
the Octagon, and had enough work for 10 years.
The A. H. Reed Building had also started leaking again.
''If you can't look after or maintain a building properly
etc, what's the use?
''I was spreading myself too thin. And it's great to know
it's with people who have the skills themselves to make it
[the restoration] happen.''
Roger Bray said his purchase was largely thanks to the
efforts and support of council policy planner (heritage) Dr
Glen Hazelton, who in turn said it was fantastic to have an
investor like Mr Bray.
''Lawrie saved it, but it's good that we are not just relying
on the same people all the time.
''It's nice to see new people coming in who can also make
this sort of contribution to the area.''
Dunedin mayor Dave Cull, who took a tour of the building
yesterday morning, said it was ''absolutely stunning'' to
have someone so clearly excited and capable of restoring the
The Reed Building was a key to the warehouse precinct, where
scaffolding could be seen going up in almost every direction
''When I look out the window it's just wonderful the number
of building owners prepared to get in and do the hard work.
''I predict this will be one of the most vibrant areas of the
city in 10 years' time.''
Roger Bray said work had started on his apartment and while
there was some work to do strengthening the building and
levelling the floors, he hoped the first rooms would be
available for occupation by Christmas.
Initial plans were to paint the building a reddish colour.
The A. H. Reed Building is so named because it was the
headquarters of what is now called Reed Publishing, from
1925-40, when A. H. Reed closed the branch and retired.
Before 1925 it was the Otago Education Board building.