Teschemakers property for sale

Teschemakers, the former Catholic girls' boarding school now owned by a Japanese company, is for sale.

The 29ha property, just south of Oamaru, has the original Teschemakers homestead, is in three titles and includes a dormitory block, classrooms, chapel, swimming pool and other facilities, all in a park setting.

It was bought for $500,000 in 2000 from the Dominican Sisters by Nikken Seil, a company owned by the late Dr Hirotomo Ochi, of Japan, who has completely refurbished the historic homestead.

Now, it is being offered for sale by tender, with tenders closing on May 5.

The complex was only listed on the market on Friday, but Oamaru real estate agent Tony Spivey sen said yesterday there had already been a lot of interest.

The sale is being handled by Trustees Executors in Dunedin on behalf of Dr Ochi's estate.

Teschemakers College closed in 1977, with the pupils being transferred to St Thomas' in Oamaru.

While the chapel is being offered for sale, its contents are still owned by the Dominican Sisters and were leased to Nikken Seil.

Nikken Seil arrived in North Otago in 2000 when its principal shareholder, Dr Hirotomo Ochi, bought Teschemakers and started a $3.5 million refurbishment to turn it into an international centre for health sciences.

In 2001, he bought the land opposite the Oamaru racecourse on State Highway 1, just north of Oamaru intending to develop a $20 million business park with a plan to attract international companies, mainly with a food-processing background.

That was followed by the purchase of farmland, mainly around Teschemakers, which he wanted to use for organic food production, tying in with the Teschemakers centre and the business park.

His plans received a setback in June 2003 when fire caused major damage to Teschemakers partway through its refurbishment.

The redevelopment continued, but Dr Ochi died in October 2005, and all the projects were put on hold until Nikken Seil decided what to do with them.

Most of the other land owned by Nikken Seil has already been sold.


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