Only to 'test the waters'

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust category one Corstorphine House.
The New Zealand Historic Places Trust category one Corstorphine House.
Corstorphine House may be on the market, but its owner says he has no plans to let the historic Dunedin property go.

Dunedin businessman Paul Facoory has owned the property since 2009, and it was put on the international market last month, mainly to see what it would fetch in the present real estate market.

''I wouldn't sell it for under a certain figure, and I'm quite happy to live there until hell freezes over.

''I plan on staying, unless someone gives me an offer I can't refuse.''

However, he assured Dunedin residents yesterday he would be very particular about who buys Corstorphine House because he did not want to see the property subdivided.

''We've put a lot of effort into it and I'm quite happy to continue to put effort into it, but I'm a Dunedin person and it's a Dunedin icon and I regard myself as a guardian.''

Mr Facoory said he was ''alarmed'' to see the property on the market upon his recent return from a holiday in Europe.

''A guy who spoke to me about this said, 'Look, there's a possibility that there's some overseas people interested in buying Corstorphine House. Would you be interested if we tested the waters'.''

Mr Facoory said he agreed to ''test the waters'', but had not expected to see the property marketed on several websites, including TradeMe.

''Frankly, I don't think people in New Zealand would buy it at the moment.

''This whole thing has got a little bit jumbled up.

''It's based on the fact that if I was made an offer I couldn't refuse, would I sell? That's what it's really all about.

''At the end of the day, it wasn't really meant to be publicised in New Zealand,'' he said.

Corstorphine House has a history of accommodating royals, heads of state and Hollywood actors, and estate agent Murray Stott hoped to attract international ''A-listers'' who would be prepared to pay the $3.8 million price tag.

In recent years, the 3.03ha Milburn St property has been a private home, boutique hotel and the venue of choice for celebrities such as Prince Charles, Hollywood stars Daniel Craig and Gwyneth Paltrow, Coldplay band member Chris Martin - even Sesame Street's Big Bird.

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust category one building was built in 1863 for the Sidey family, and was extended in 1905.

After it closed as a boutique hotel, Corstorphine House was rated as one of the top 100 homes in New Zealand, with its eight themed suites and three dining-drawing rooms.



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