NZ Loan and Mercantile Agency Co Ltd Building, 31-33 Thomas Burns Street

Updated Post 11.8.14

Radio Interview, Jim Mora RNZ National 11.8.14
█ (audio)

Hot Press 3
LUC-2014-259 DCC Planner’s Report (PDF, 4 MB)

DCC Hearings Committee:
Andrew Noone (Chairman), Kate Wilson and Lee Vandervis.

Look out for more in the news… see Comments on this thread.
DCC Planner (name): Darryl Sycamore
Points at issue in the report will be raised at this site, independently.

Disclaimer: Elizabeth Kerr is not a submitter on the application.

NZ Loan and Mercantile Agency building, Dunedin [] 1 detailNZ Loan and Mercantile Agency Co Ltd Building [Photo: Ben C Hill for NZ Historic Places Trust via]

█ Heritage New Zealand – Registration report and history (List no. 4755)

█ The well-loved building is one of a group of significant structures listed in Heritage New Zealand’s Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area (List no. 7767)

█ District Plan: Located in the Queens Gardens Heritage Precinct (TH12) and the entire external building envelope is listed for protection in Schedule 25.1 (item B106)

ODT 16.7.14 Plans for landmark building outlined [see ODT photos]
ODT 21.7.14 Excellent proposal to renew building Opinion by Peter Entwisle

### ODT Online Wed, 6 Aug 2014
Chamber resists apartment units
By Timothy Brown
The Otago Chamber of Commerce opposes residential development of a historic Dunedin building – arguing the proposal has shades of the costly and largely aborted harbourside rezoning. But building owner Russell Lund has struck back, accusing the chamber of ”knee-jerk nimbyism”.
Thirteen submissions supported the proposed redevelopment of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Co Ltd building, while four were opposed and one was neutral.
Read more

DCC Residential conversion 31 & 33 Thomas Burns Street – LUC-2014-259
Closed: 30/07/2014

Notification of Application for a Resource Consent – Under Section 93(2) of the Resource Management Act 1991.
The proposal is to convert and utilise the second (top) floor of the former NZ Loan and Mercantile Agency Co Ltd Building for residential activity. There will be eleven three-bedroom apartments and twelve one-bedroom apartments established within the existing building. The exterior of the existing building will have new glazing, windows, balconies, doors, entry and south light modifications. There will be ten on-site parking spaces at the corner of Willis Street and Thomas Burns Street for residents’ use. […] The proposed residential activity within the Port 2 zone is considered to be a non-complying activity pursuant to Rule 11.6.4. The modification of the building is considered to be a restricted discretionary activity pursuant to Rules 13.7.3(i) and 13.7.3(ii).

A detailed set of location maps, plans and an assessment of effects are provided with the application. The application has been submitted with an acoustics report.

█ Read more, including application documents at the DCC webpage

NZ Loan and Merc [render signed by HNZ 30.5.14]NZ Loan and Mercantile Agency Co Ltd Building (render signed by HNZ 30.5.14)

█ For more, enter the terms *loan and mercantile* or *harbourside* in the search box at right.

Posted By Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Heritage, Heritage NZ, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design

13 responses to “NZ Loan and Mercantile Agency Co Ltd Building, 31-33 Thomas Burns Street

  1. Elizabeth

    Published at ODT Online:

    Sound idea, strong building
    Submitted by ej kerr on Wed, 06/08/2014 – 5:40pm.

    I’m with kevy and Southgal. Besides, people are coming and going around this spot all the time. A couple of doors along the historic Wharf Hotel continues trade, and across the road is Customhouse Restaurant. The Monarch and Tiakina are working their sailings. Numbers of people reside in the harbourside area today, that’s not stopping Farra or anyone else going about their business.

    Given the scale of the industrially zoned land area on the Dunedin Harbourside there’s every reason to make this tiny corner of the port work better for the general public. Building owner Russell Lund deserves a prize for this one. Earlier news coverage (ODT 16.7.14) included great photos by Peter McIntosh, showing the amazing interior – ripe for staged conversion. The hearings will be interesting, expect to see apartments any day soon! Alas, the Chamber and pals look a little silly, already.


    Comment from another thread:

    Submitted on 2014/08/06 at 3:45 pm
    Otago Chamber of Commerce (affectionately referred to as COC) picks the wrong fight.
    The Chamber strongly backed the proposal for the horrendously ugly hotel and apartment tower at 41 Wharf Street (Betterways). They got that so HORRIBLY wrong. Now the Chamber wants to fry building owner Russell Lund for daring to put his historic Loan & Merc building back into use – for apartments.
    How dumb are COC. Haven’t they heard about acoustic isolation. Loan and Merc’s only a couple of doors west of the historic Wharf Hotel for godsake. Port 2 zone: here we come – protectionism, reverse sensitivities, turbulent waters et al.
    LOL Ali Copeman and John Christie can argue all they like, on behalf of ‘big business’ – like thistle heads in the wind.
    The Dunedin public desperately want this building conserved, adapted and back in use (in a word: ENJOYED).

  2. Elizabeth

    John McKenzie of McKenzie Architects Ltd is one of the city’s more sensitive and skilled practitioner architects working in the field of adaptive reuse, redevelopment and conversion of historic heritage for contemporary and future use. Projects include Knox College and Arana Hall redevelopments, Willowbank Quarter (conversion of the former Wilson’s Distillery for student accommodation), and the new Oamaru Hospital.

  3. Peter

    What a shame the council is opposing this positive development. I’m incredulous. The ridiculous COC position is hard to understand. Here is a guy willing to conserve a beautiful building and, not long ago, we had to fight that mongrel woman who wanted to blot the landscape, in the same area, with her hideous hotel. It doesn’t make sense.
    If people are willing to live there, and are prepared to sign some agreement that negates the reverse sensibility issue, what is the problem?

    • Elizabeth

      Luckily, at this stage, Peter, the DCC Planner / City Planning is not the DCC Hearings Committee or the Dunedin City Council per se.

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    One provided a Dream, a Vision, something that would, just as the Grand Fubar, deliver jobs and a stream, nay a river of gold flowing into Dunedin.
    The other came up with a strictly practical idea for doing something eminently sensible.
    The council’s as well as “the ridiculous COC position” ARE NOT “hard to understand”, alas.

  5. Cars

    Elizabeth, that is WHISKY, the alternative is Irish or bourbon!!


    • Elizabeth

      Cars, oops copy pasted that spelling. Solved by removing the word altogether!

      While we’re at it:

      Etymology (via Wiki)
      “The word whisky (or whiskey) is an anglicisation of the Gaelic word uisce/uisge meaning water. Distilled alcohol was known in Latin as aqua vitae (“water of life”). This was translated to Gaelic as Irish: uisce beatha and Scottish Gaelic: uisge beatha=”lively water” or “water of life”. Early forms of the word in English included uskebeaghe (1581), usquebaugh (1610), usquebath (1621), usquebae (1715).

      Names and spellings
      Much is made of the word’s two spellings: whisky and whiskey. There are two schools of thought on the issue. One is that the spelling difference is simply a matter of regional language convention for the spelling of a word, indicating that the spelling varies depending on the intended audience or the background or personal preferences of the writer (like the difference between color and colour; tire and tyre; or recognize and recognise), and the other is that the spelling should depend on the style or origin of the spirit being described. There is general agreement that when quoting the proper name printed on a label, the spelling on the label should not be altered. Some writers refer to “whisk(e)y” or “whisky/whiskey” to acknowledge the variation.

      The spelling whisky is generally used in Canada, Japan, Scotland, England, and Wales—while whiskey is more common in Ireland and the United States. The usage is not always consistent.”

  6. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Mon, 11 Aug 2014
    Developer slams call by planner
    By Vaughan Elder
    A developer hoping to breathe new life into an historic Dunedin building has slammed the Dunedin City Council after a planner recommended his resource consent application be declined. New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Building owner Russell Lund said he was “staggered” planners opposed his plan to restore the category two, 1872 building and redevelop the second floor into a 24-unit apartment complex.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      He’s staggered? He’s not the only one.
      Mr Lund’s proposal ticks so many boxes, each with the tags #sensible and #intelligent and @win-win.
      What categories do those planners fit into. Huh?

  7. Rob Hamlin

    So: “Mr Lund found it “inexplicable” that Mr Sycamore accepted the courts gave “clear direction” that such covenants could resolve reverse sensitivity issues. “His biggest reason for turning it down [appears to be] that he simply doesn’t like covenants. To me it is inexplicable that they think they have a right to second-guess the courts.”

    I happen to support this development, but I also understand the local planning officer’s dislike of developers’ covenants. Here’s why:

    Developers’ covenants are ‘OK’ – if they are not breached. However, in a recent conversation with a local developer, the comment was made that covenants are commonly agreed to as part of the consent process and then they are either not signed (as in the Carisbrook hire agreement), or they are written in a manner that does not offer the protection that they appear to, or they are simply flouted and the powers that be who have responsibility for taking and/or funding enforcement take no action.

    Usually those neighbours who are negatively affected by these breaches and related inaction by the authorities are then not able to take enforcement action via the civil courts so as they are outgunned by the money and connections already possessed by the flouter and by the amounts of money to be made by such floutings.

    Looking at a local example, a developer subdivided a lifestyle block and in order to acquire permission to do so (in the teeth of opposition from the Council planning officers) they agreed to not connect the second site to sewerage and water, and were required to sign a covenant agreeing not to subdivide the land further.

    In the submitted plans the site was subdivided in a manner that left a drive to the second residence and an odd ‘leg in’ strip parallel with it that looks like a second drive cum access road to the larger block behind the smaller subdivided residential section. An odd and seemingly wasteful plan for a block of land supposedly proofed by covenant from further subdivision. However, it does make perfect sense if further subdivision is planned. But of course there’s a covenant ….. (insert Tui slogan here).

    The hearings committee, consisting of a couple of our better known elected mates, overrode the objections and approved the subdivision on the plans noted above. It is my understanding that less than a year in, water was connected.

    The developer (to whom I was speaking, not the one above) commented that covenants submitted as a part of an approvals process usually offered no protection at all to potentially negatively affected neighbours, but did offer splendid opportunities for providing short term support and planning override justifications for profitable (at the neighbours’ expense) non-complying development activities.

    If the above is indeed routine practice in this area, then I am surprised that Mr Lund finds the officer’s dislike inexplicable. If it is thus, then it is quite likely that this officer has already been ‘burnt’ by ‘for the temporary purpose of development approval’ covenants quite a few times in this manner.

    If they are in any way conscientious and with an ethos of public service, then they can only deduce that second guessing the law courts’ response to breached covenants now forms a routine part of their duties. This second guessing duty is required because, for the reasons outlined above, if approval is given the law courts themselves will very rarely get the opportunity to consider the rights and wrongs of subsequent breaches that may (will?) occur.

    Moocho dollars may be the outcome if you can get away with this practice, but it’s a trick that is self-consuming in nature and as such it is a fine example of the golden goose syndrome. It’s a pity because I would support this project, but only on the basis of covenants being put in place that fully protected established businesses in the area for the long term.

    Looking at those who have also expressed reservations about this development, I am not the only one who has little faith in properly watertight documents of this nature being forthcoming as part of the DCC’s approval process.

    Is that a golden goose’s dying ‘honk’ that I hear?

  8. Elizabeth

    Radio Interview, Jim Mora RNZ National 11.8.14

    █ The Panel [audio]

    The Panel with Michael Deaker and Sue Wells (Part 1) ( 23′ 8″ )
    16:07 Topics – we’ve heard from the doctors union the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists that 42 per cent of our senior doctors now qualified overseas. [discussion starts at 14:50 minutes in] The grand old New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Building in downtown Dunedin, developer Russell Lund wants to restore this category two building dating from 1872 and create a 24-unit apartment complex but there is significant opposition due to noise concerns.
    Audio | Downloads: Ogg MP3

    LUC-2014-259 DCC Planner’s Report (PDF, 4 MB)

    See also Updated Post at top of thread.

  9. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

  10. Elizabeth

    Rob Hamlin asked “Is that a golden goose’s dying ‘honk’ that I hear?” (above)

    No. Not really. Since it couldn’t be “heard” because of the Conditions placed on the development with regard to acoustic insulation and ventilation, at pages 17-18 of the Decision.

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