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Grand heritage building lures buyers after eight-year renovation

The upcoming sale of one of Whanganui’s grandest Edwardian heritage buildings after an eight-year renovation is tipped to lure buyers from far beyond The River City.

Positioned in the heart of the city centre, the exquisitely restored Heritage House was originally built in 1914 as a clubhouse for the Wanganui Gentlemen’s Club, now known as the Wanganui Club. The club sold the premises to private owners in 2002 but remains a big part of Heritage House as a tenant of part of the building.

Eight office tenancies in the building are fully leased to local businesses. The ornate ballroom and attractive gardens are hired out as a popular wedding, events and conference venue. The Summer House in the gardens hosts intimate functions.

Along with two high-end Airbnb apartments upstairs in the main building, these activities generate a diversified total gross income of $184,000 per annum.

A private owner’s apartment on the first floor offers a unique opportunity for owner-occupiers to live and earn in a building recognised nationally for its history and character.

Heritage House, located at 136 Saint Hill Street, Whanganui, is being marketed for sale through Amie Rowan, Jess Butters, John Bartley and Jean Clark of Bayleys Whanganui.

The property will be sold by way of a tender closing on Wednesday 17 July, unless it is sold prior.

The approximately 1,475-square-metre building sits on some 2,058 square metres of commercially zoned freehold land.

Rowan said the property’s place in Whanganui’s history was formally recognised through a Category 2 Heritage New Zealand historic place listing.

“On offer is a magnificent slice of Whanganui’s heritage. From the moment you step into the grand entrance lobby, the property is resplendent with character features such as high decorative ceilings, chandeliers, ornate fireplaces, a grand kauri staircase, and extensive native timber doors and panelling throughout.

“It has been a true labour of love for the owner-occupiers of the past eight years to return Heritage House to its former glory, and now offer it to its next custodian who can step in knowing the hard work is done,” said Rowan.

Butters said the refurbishment by the owners was comprehensive after they took the building on in a poor state.

“It was the current owners who saw, then fully honoured this property’s heritage – and gave it the name Heritage House.

“This was a rough diamond, after years of relative neglect, when they arrived. In their time here, they have restored large expanses of native woodwork and rejuvenated the magnificent kauri staircase, as well as resurfacing floors, replumbing, rewiring, and taking out some non-structural walls to optimise space.

“The result is a building not only bursting with historic character, but also fit-for-purpose and well-appointed for 21st century use,” said Butters.

Bartley said the site would attract wide interest as a “trophy” purchase, backed by strong investment credentials thanks to its multiple diversified income streams.

“This is a property that will appeal to buyers’ hearts and heads. Add in the chance to live within this building’s grandeur, and you’re looking at an owner-occupier proposition that is virtually without match in New Zealand,” said Bartley.

Clark said the city centre location, a short stroll from Whanganui’s main retail strip on Victoria Avenue, added further to its allure as a place to invest and live.

“A plethora of vital city amenities are on the doorstep. Heritage House is also part of a wider heritage precinct that is a drawcard for the city, clustered with historic buildings and cultural institutions such as Whanganui Regional Museum, Alexander Heritage and Research Library and the internationally renowned Sarjeant Gallery,” Clark said.

Click here for more information on the listing.

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