Council moves to sell Athenaeum building

The Dunedin City Council is trying again to sell the Athenaeum building in the Octagon.

The 142-year-old building was yesterday advertised as being for sale by deadline private treaty by Colliers International, on behalf of the council, closing on March 6.

The move came after the council was forced to scrap a planned auction of the building in September last year, just a day before it was due to go under the hammer.

Council city property manager Robert Clark had deemed it ''surplus'' to council requirements, but the decision to sell was overruled by council chief executive Paul Orders because councillors wanted more time to ''fully consider its future''.

Mr Clark said when contacted yesterday the deadline treaty meant potential buyers would have to make an offer, including details of their plans for the building, making it a better fit with the wishes of councillors.

''It gives us the opportunity to look at those options,'' Mr Clark said.

The Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute building, near the Regent Theatre was bought by the council from the Athenaeum Society for $1.13 million in October 2007.

At the time, the council said the land could be a site for an 800-seat theatre or incorporated into a cultural sector associated with the Regent Theatre.

However, the building was instead put on the market in August last year, after Mr Clark said it was decided there were no advantages to retaining it.

The building has three tenants, two cafe-bars and the Athenaeum Society library.

It generated rental income of $63,500 a year, excluding GST, had a rateable value of $1.25 million and a land value of $980,000.

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