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Heritage building protection gains momentum

Heritage building protection gains momentum

31 October 2008

The future and preservation of Building 5, in the Greenlane Clinical Centre precinct, has gained further momentum with the public being offered the opportunity to submit proposals for the refurbishment and long-term lease of the building.

Auckland Regional Council (ARC) Chair of Parks and Heritage Sandra Coney says this is big step forward for a building that was to face the wreckers ball.

"It turns out that adaptation and reuse of the building will cost very little more than demolishing and rebuilding," she says. "There is a lesson here that our heritage buildings are not a burden to be got rid of. They provide us with opportunities to celebrate our identity and connect with our past as a city.

"The public values these old landmarks. It is worth noting that it was left up to a member of the public, Helen Geary, to lodge the appeal against demolishing the building."

Building 5 carries a social and historical significance that Aucklanders should not lose.

"Building 5 is a symbol of this country's important development of its public hospital and social welfare system. These hospital buildings were among the first steps," she says.

Building 5 was constructed between 1906 and 1917 and has survived relatively unchanged.

"There are very few Edwardian public buildings remaining in the city," says Cr Coney. "Auckland City assessed the building as below the level needed to save it. It scored historic associations as zero, whereas the building is associated with the Charitable Aid legislation, and important public figures in the city and geriatric medicine.

"Building 5, the Costley Block and other buildings in the precinct, represent different stages in the development of the modern healthcare system," she says.

The Auckland Regional Council, together with the Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) and Auckland City Council, collaborated on commissioning an independent building assessment report from conservation architects to establish the viability and costs associated with reusing Building 5.

"It is time for agencies of central and local government to take a lead in looking after these buildings for the future.

"At present, our city's record is poor and we need to adopt a better process for protecting our region's heritage so that buildings like this do not become seen as a nuisance or a burden," says Cr Coney

The ADHB is now seeking Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the refurbishment and long-term lease of the building at a peppercorn rental.

Advertisements will be placed in the NZ Herald and other leading property media, as well as the Government Electronic Tenders Service.

The ADHB will start its advertising campaign on 1 November to attract a lessee interested in refurbishing and occupying Building 5 at Greenlane Clinical Centre. The closing date for proposals is 19 December 2008.

ENDS

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