New site wanted for historic cottage

The owners of Gratuity Cottage, one of Queenstown’s oldest dwellings, are looking for new owners...
The owners of Gratuity Cottage, one of Queenstown’s oldest dwellings, are looking for new owners to relocate and restore the cottage, built in the 1870s, or it will be demolished. Photo: Guy Williams
A new site for one of Queenstown’s oldest cottages is wanted - and the existing owners aren’t expecting money for the historic building.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council this week  asked for expressions of interest to relocate "Gratuity Cottage" from its existing home in Gorge Rd to a new site, with the hope it would also be restored and given a new lease of life.

The cottage, privately owned by the Kim family, was built in the 1870s and was a "rare surviving example" of a dwelling from the early days of Queenstown.

The family intended to redevelop the land at 9 Gorge Rd soon — they and the council wanted to relocate the cottage to ensure the historic, social and archaeological significance of the building was protected.

"We are excited to offer the building to a new owner, who can demonstrate that the building will be relocated safely to a new location befitting its heritage," Mr Kim said.

The expression-of-interest document said if the property was not relocated, it would be demolished, but there was a "strong community desire" for it to be preserved.

While it had once been listed in the council’s district plan as a heritage feature, it was removed at the request of past owner artist John McCormack.

Expressions of interest would require a comprehensive proposal for the cottage’s removal from the existing site and restoration at its new location and its potential future use.

"The property owners are not seeking payment from the successful applicant for the cottage ... [but] would appreciate any consenting and legal fees related to its removal to be covered by the successful applicant".

Heritage New Zealand lists the cottage as a category 2 historic place and its overall heritage assessment listing is moderate to high.The cottage was

believed to have been built in 1871-72 by Queenstown builder John Frederic,  most likely using southern beech milled from Robertson and Co’s sawmills at Kinloch.

Mr McCormack bought it in 1980 and  it served as his studio and gallery until 2013, when the 443sq m property - with high-density zoning - was sold to the Kim family.

The 38sq m weatherboard cottage features an inside bathroom, but the toilet is in an outbuilding.

The Heritage New Zealand report says the overall layout of the cottage was "remarkably original" and says, in general, it is of high historical significance and "one of the most original and unmodified early buildings to survive in Queenstown".

Expressions of interest close  on  March 16.

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