Would you live in an air traffic control tower?

The four-storey building will require some significant work, including asbestos removal and...
The four-storey building will require some significant work, including asbestos removal and earthquake strengthening. Photo: Supplied
Aviation enthusiasts may be scrambling over themselves to put in an offer on the latest residential property to be listed for sale - the old air traffic control tower.

The property at 36 Tirangi Rd in Wellington is not what most people would think of when buying a home.

It features a cramped floor plan, narrow stairway access to all four levels, little natural light in many areas, and has only one toilet.

The tower still has many of its original 1957 design features, but the kitchenette is described as "circa 2000s chic".

It also comes with a list of renovation needs, including asbestos removal and earthquake strengthening.

But the sellers said the views from the top floor were "phenomenal", stretching from Evans Bay to Lyall Bay and beyond. There's also nearly a quarter acre of land.

Airways, which is selling the tower, claims it is the only air traffic control tower in the world to have a residential address and its own letterbox.

Opened in 1959, the old tower was home to Airways air traffic controllers managing flights into and out of Wellington Airport for 60 years. The new control tower was opened further down Tirangi Rd in 2018.

The old tower has become a local landmark, Airways chief financial officer James Young said.

At the opening ceremony for the new tower, residents shared stories of living and growing up nearby. The old tower was affectionately known by some neighbours as "Arnold".

"It has sat up there on the hill and served us well for 60 years, so we will have some mixed feelings about seeing it go," Young said.

"While we know it's most likely that the property will be bought by a developer and cleared to build new homes, it's nice to imagine the old tower being given a new life through some creative grand design."

The four-storey building will require some significant work, including asbestos removal and...
The four-storey building will require some significant work, including asbestos removal and earthquake strengthening. Photo: Supplied
The land the tower sits on has recently been rezoned to allow it to be used for residential development.

It is being sold by Wellington's Tommy's Real Estate, with the commission from the sale being donated to the Wellington Children's Hospital Foundation.

Agents Billy Bell and Jess Platt said it was the most unique property they'd ever listed.

"We've had unusual looking houses, but never anything quite like this so it's exciting to be involved," they say.

The commission raised from the sale will go towards the outfitting and equipping of the interior of the new Wellington Children's Hospital.

The tower is being listed for buyer inquiry over $895,000, and is expected to sell for something above that price.

Airways head of service delivery for towers Sophia Healey said the building was "very unique" but thought it was unlikely anybody would buy it to live in it, given the amount of work that needed to be done.

"It would be really nice to imagine some developer giving the place a new lease on life . . . but realistically there's an awful lot to do to bring it up to standard."

The asbestos removal and earthquake strengthening would be "fairly extensive" work, and there was still a lot to be done to make the property comfortable to live in.

"You would walk into quite a big job to do."

A potential buyer would need to be "up for a big challenge".

It was more likely someone would want to tear the tower down to make way for more housing for Wellingtonians amidst the housing shortage.

Healey expected there would be "mixed feelings" in the community if the tower was torn down.

Today is the first day the tower has been listed for sale, and Airways are expecting a good deal of interest from developers and aviation nuts alike.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of genuine interest in terms of what's to offer and what can be done with it.

"We've got mixed feelings of letting it go, but it will be good to put the land and especially the building to good future use."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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