Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Historic Athenaeum Building Sold
This item was published on 08 Apr 2013.
The Octagon Athenaeum has been sold in an agreement which provides an opportunity to meet community needs and protect the building’s historic features.
The Dunedin City Council agreed today to accept an offer from Lawrie Forbes, for a purchase price of $900,000. The offer is unconditional, with settlement on 1 May.
Mr Forbes has developed a number of historic buildings in Dunedin and was awarded the 2012 Dunedin City Council Supreme Award for Heritage Re-Use. Mr Forbes plans to earthquake strengthen the building using his company Zeal Steel and develop part of the building for an arts and culture use.
Mr Forbes also plans to place a restrictive covenant on the property title to ensure the heritage elements of the interior and exterior of the building are retained. The covenant is to be agreed between Mr Forbes and the [New Zealand] Historic Places Trust. If agreement cannot be reached on the wording of a suitable covenant within two years, this condition lapses.
Following a December 2012 Council meeting, Colliers International were appointed as agents for the sale of the Athenaeum. A deadline treaty process began in January this year and four offers were received, ranging from $500,000 to $900,000.
Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull says while Mr Forbes’ offer was the highest, the Council also took into account his plans to meet community needs by protecting the heritage of the building with a covenant and work closely with the arts and cultural sector.
“What makes Lawrie Forbes’ offer so attractive is the strategic alignment it has with the overall vision for the city. It is very much in line with the outcomes envisaged by the Central City Strategy, the Heritage Strategy and Arts and Culture Strategy which is being developed.”
In October 2007, the DCC bought the Athenaeum for $1,130,000, with the possibility of using the building in a large theatre development. The development did not proceed and so the decision was made to sell the property.
The purchase price will leave the DCC with an estimated debt of $100,565, which is unbudgeted and must be repaid in the current financial year. The total cost of owning the building (from 2007 to 2013), once the sale is completed, is $502,302.
On average the holding costs have been $74,000 a year and the sale means the DCC no longer has these ongoing costs, nor the risks associated with owning the property.
Contact the Mayor of Dunedin on 477 4000.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr