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Historic church hall goes on the market for sale

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Historic church hall goes on the market for sale

One of Temuka’s landmark buildings – the century-old former Presbyterian church hall – has been placed on the market for sale following its conversion into a café and three separate residential dwellings.

The two-storey red brick building in the centre of town was sold into private ownership in 2002 – with owners Hayley and Darren Larsen painstakingly spending the ensuing 12 years redeveloping the building into its current multi’-purpose state.

What was the church’s main hall was been converted into a 40-seat food and beverage operation – including an open-plan upper mezzanine floor wrap around balcony, café bar, and commercial kitchen space.

Meanwhile, the former Sunday school rooms and meeting chambers have been converted into a luxury five bedroom residence and pair of one-bedroom luxury apartments – each with their own separate access.

Much of the church hall’s original structures have been kept intact – including the courtyard pond and three-tier fountain, the hand-forged wrought iron entrance gates swinging off hand-built stone block walls, and the timber floorboards and internal framing.

The staircase to the café’s mezzanine floor was built from rimu bench seats in the original Sunday school rooms

During the redevelopment process, builders even discovered a ‘secret room’ containing the dated signatures of the tradesmen who built the church in 1913.

The property is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Timaru through a tender process closing on September 26. Bayleys Timaru salesperson Sue Morton said the new configuration of the property offered multiple revenue or residency options.

“It can be considered purely as an investment – with leases to the café and the three separate residential dwellings. Alternatively, it could be bought as an owner/occupier food and beverage business premises, with the bonus of running the two apartments as either staff accommodation or for rental,” Ms Morton said.

“Or it could operate as a substantial function venue with multiple associated accommodation – for the likes of hosting weddings where guests of the bride or groom could stay on site before and after the occasion.

“It would be ironic that after witnessing the consecration of hundreds of wedding over the past hundred or so years, the building could evolve into being the next step in the process... hosting the post-marriage festivities.

“And of course any new owner would have the certainty of saying their neighbours, the new Presbyterian Church congregation, were truly ‘holier than thou’,” laughed Ms Morton.

The 451 square metre building sits on 1350 square metres of land with car parking for four vehicles to the rear of the property. The land is zoned residential one, with permitted use for the café as a food and beverage venue.

Ms Morton said that while the residential component of the building had been completed to a ‘turn-key’ level ready for immediate occupation, some minor finishing works were required for the café infrastructure to become fully consented and functional.

“The upper kitchen area for example is fully wired and plumbed in waiting for the addition of fittings to the requirements of any new owner. Similarly, the customer toilets are plumbed in but awaiting final fitment installation,” she said.

Both the five-bedroom home and the adjoining apartments had been highly-spec’d in their fit-out, said Ms Morton - encompassing the inclusion of spa baths, heat pumps, tile finishes, heated mirrors, and ornate plaster work.

Latest property rental statistics from the Department of Business Information and Employment show a one bedroom apartment in the Temuka/Timaru area rents for an average of $154 per week, while a four bedroom house in the district rents for an average of $339 per week. There were no figures available for average rental levels for five bedroom houses.

“Obviously though, the location and fit-out quality of the Temuka church hall home and apartments, combined with the fact they are brand new, means they will command considerably more than ‘average’ rental,” Ms Morton said. “In fact, it would be very easy to say these three dwellings are ‘blessed’ as being the most desirable new home and apartments in town.”


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