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New uses sought for historic Chest Hospital

28 July 2004

New uses sought for historic Chest Hospital

The Wellington City Council will soon seek expressions of interest from individuals or organisations wishing to use the historic Chest (or Fever) Hospital, hidden away on Mt Victoria.

"It's an extraordinary building, set in a park-like landscape with huge lawns and wonderful mature trees," says Council City Development Manager Rob Williams.

"It's like an oasis - the apparent remoteness and tranquillity belies the site's real proximity to the city."

The Council is currently undertaking significant maintenance and refurbishment work on the building's run-down exterior. The remedial work consists of clearing dangerous trees, re-roofing the building, replacing timbers and repainting the exterior to restore the Chest Hospital from white to its original colour scheme of reds, greens and browns.

The building opened in 1920 and was used to isolate patients suffering from infectious diseases such as diphtheria, influenza, scarlet fever and tuberculosis, especially during the 1940s. In later years, it was used for geriatric purposes until the early 1980s. More recently, Wellington Polytechnic used the building for its Music School until 1997. Over the last few years, the building has housed private boarders.

The building is part of 3.2 hectares that were acquired from the Government in 2002 as part of an addition to the Town Belt.

Once the current work is finished in about September, the building will be leased for a use that is in keeping with its heritage and reserve status. "Because the building is on reserve land, any uses within the building will have to demonstrate a 'public good' element such as a community, recreation, health or education activity," says Mr Williams.

The site actually consists of two historic buildings: the Chest Hospital and the adjoining Nurses' Hostel. This year, the Council is seeking expressions of interest for the use of just the Chest Hospital building. The two-storied Nurses' Hostel is planned for restoration next year and will later also be leased for use.

People interested in leasing the Chest Hospital can contact Rob Williams, or Bruce Geden at the Council.


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