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The Oamaru Baptist Church, built in 1889, is for sale by tender, offering a rare opportunity for a development site facing State Highway 1 next to the Oamaru central business district.
The church has bought the former Ideal Services (IHC) land and complex in Sandringham St, north Oamaru, which pastor Neil Johnston said provided greater scope for expansion, better parking and access.
The new complex also met 73% of building standards for earthquake risk, when the church would be facing a huge cost to upgrade the church and hall, built in 1963 at the rear on the Severn St site, if it continued to be used by the public.
"It was a difficult decision for some, but then not for others," he said about selling the old church for the new property.
"But the new property will give us much greater scope for development over time."
Apart from more extensive facilities in the 500sq m building and potential for a 3800sq m site, there were up to 37 car parks compared with six at the old site and access was easier.
Mr Johnston said services were still being held at the church hall in Severn St but were in the process of being shifted to Sandringham St, which had a small auditorium.
The new site also had considerably more facilities, which could be used to offer more activities in the future, particularly day-based community programmes such as the Mainly Music programme for mothers and children.
The old church is being sold by L.J. Hooker with tenders closing on March 28. The 859sq m site is zoned business 3 (light industrial services, wholesale retail and office) and, with the church and hall of 550sq m, has a rateable value of $205,000.