NZ Loan and Mercantile Building —what ESCO said!

NZ Loan and Mercantile Agency building, Dunedin [] 1 detailLand Use Consent: LUC-2014-259
31-33 Thomas Burns Street, Dunedin
NZ Loan and Mercantile Agency Co Ltd Building

Application LUC-2014-259 (PDF, 4.0 MB)

[see related posts below] The consent hearing reconvened on Monday 22 September at 9:30 AM to hear closings of the city planners and right of reply for applicant Russell Lund. The hearing is now closed; commissioners Andrew Noone (chair), David Benson-Pope and Lee Vandervis are considering their decision.

Background to this post:
Following the initial hearing held on Tuesday 19 August, it is What if? Dunedin’s contention that Debbie Porteous, for the Otago Daily Times, provided news stories which failed to give appropriate weight and balance to submissions and evidence from supporting and opposing submitters, the applicant, and experts for the parties.

ODT stories:
█ 20.8.14 Demolition threatened; job loss possibility raised
Esco Dunedin site manager Dean Taig told the panel if the apartments were allowed next door he would have “grave concerns” for the future of the foundry which employed 39 people and had plans to employ 100 people.
[negative writerly tone]

█ 21.8.14 Businesses fear being driven out of area
It is a choice between buildings and jobs, a panel considering whether to allow apartments in a heritage building in Dunedin’s waterfront industrial area has been told. The district plan had already made the choice for them, lawyer Phil Page also said, because it said there could not be incompatible activities in the same area.
[negative writerly tone becomes shrill, no right of reply for applicant]

█ 29.8.14 DCC to foot apartments consent bill
The development is opposed by nearby industrial businesses, which are concerned about reverse sensitivity issues such as noise and smell and the effect of gentrification of the area on their future enterprises.
[stirring, ends with a negative, no right of reply for applicant]

What on earth had ESCO put to hearing?
● Evidence of Counsel for ESCO Dunedin Pty Ltd – D R Clay (Minter Ellison Rudd Watts Lawyers – Auckland) (PDF, 704 KB)
● Evidence of Dean Taig, site manager of ESCO Dunedin Pty Ltd Dunedin foundry (PDF, 246 KB)
● Evidence of Michael Smith, independent traffic engineering expert (Traffic Design Group) (PDF, 531 KB)
● Evidence of Shane Roberts, independent planning expert (Opus International Consultants) (PDF, 1.82 MB)

█ These snivellings from Ms Porteous ran counter to a supportive comment by editor Murray Kirkness on Saturday 6 September:

“It is certainly encouraging that another local developer is prepared to foot the bill to preserve a distinctive piece of the city’s heritage. It is to be hoped his plans go more smoothly than those for Russell Lund’s restoration and apartment conversion of the Loan and Mercantile building. That proposal is complicated by the fact it is in the wharf area and has been opposed by neighbouring industrial businesses. The council hearing into Mr Lund’s consent application resumes this month.” (ODT)

█ On Tuesday 9 September, reporter Chris Morris also cleared the biased air of Ms Porteous, with last sentences:

“Last month, building owner Russell Lund criticised a council planner’s decision to recommend declining consent for his planned redevelopment of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Building. That proposal, which has attracted more support than opposition, is still being considered, with an adjourned hearing set to resume later this month.” (ODT)

Heritage advocates are awaiting something/anything in print from Ms Porteous about the applicant’s technically fulsome right of reply given on 22 September. Why the delay, we ask?

It’s pleasing to learn Murray Kirkness kindly phoned Russell Lund this evening to say a story appears in tomorrow’s newspaper.
We look forward to reading this, we hope….

Related Posts and Comments:
30.8.14 NZ Loan and Mercantile Building: Looking round at potential
18.8.14 NZ Loan and Mercantile Building #randomsmartphonepix (interiors)
17.8.14 Public Notices: NZ Loan and Mercantile Building… (site tour, hearing)
13.8.14 Chamber’s Own Goals —Heritage (letters)
11.8.14 NZ Loan and Mercantile Building (audio)
8.8.14 NZ Loan and Mercantile Agency Co Ltd Building…
18.3.14 Dunedin Harbourside: English Heritage on portside development
21.10.13 Harbourside: Access to a revamped Steamer Basin has public backing

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

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: – NZ Loan and Mercantile Building by Ben C Hill for Heritage New Zealand [NZHPT]


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

16 responses to “NZ Loan and Mercantile Building —what ESCO said!

  1. Elizabeth

    Residents had lived in the area for years without any recorded complaints to any council so far.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 27 Sep 2014
    Arguments against flats plan rebuffed
    By Debbie Porteous
    The future of one of Dunedin’s – and possibly New Zealand’s – most significant historic warehouses is in the hands of three city councillors following a final attempt to persuade them they should allow it to be turned into apartments. At a reconvened hearing this week on the application, [Russell] Lund used his right of reply to take apart earlier objections from nearby industrial businesses. He particularly focused on the evidence of steel fabricator Esco, which said it might have to close if it was forced to comply with creeping compliance costs related to neighbouring residential activity.
    Read more

    The reality in Dunedin was commercial tenants were hard to come by and the residential conversion was the only viable alternative.

  2. Cars

    The DCC is determined to increase jobs by 10,000, but propose an activity which creates jobs and the DCC will as sure as snow melts in hell, oppose the idea. Unless of course the DCC, Port Otago or the ORC are able to create more jobs on the public tit in which case it may be considered.

    A man owns a heritage listed building. He is required by law to strengthen the building for non existent earthquakes, but he is not allowed a method that can reclaim his costs.

    What are we coming to?

    Dunedin has a “sure to fail” mentality, NURTURED by the DCC.

  3. I think Russell Lund sums it up succinctly when he poses the question: ‘If not apartments, then what?’
    City planner Darryl Sycamore has no answer, except to say, Port 2 zone must be protected in industry’s long-term economic interests. Does he not realise that area is awash with unused and under-utilised properties with the Loan & Mercantile building being one of them. As the test of time has shown, there is no use for that building, either now or in the future as an industrial venue. Get over it, or Mr Lund will be quite entitled to demolish and free up the land. Imagine the ‘fans’ being assaulted by all manner of ‘merde’ then.

  4. Elizabeth

    Debbie Porteous isn’t quite over canoodling with the low-blow words and questionable opinion of city planner Darryl Sycamore, who fancies himself an expert on reverse sensitivity – having previously worked for ORC.

    Mr Sycamore’s snide “the committee had heard a lot of evidence, “some of it relevant and some that is merely noise””, sums up his usefulness. Mr Sycamore may be thrown to the lions.

    The bulk of Ms Porteous’s story today, however, is finally on point.

  5. Anonymous

    Farking hilarious that Phil Page (on the opposite side of the fence to last time) comes out with that line about the District Plan. Good ideas don’t become bad ideas just because you change sides.

  6. Elizabeth

    More stories and opinion published by ODT:

    Sat, 31 May 2014
    New life for old building
    By Timothy Brown
    More than a decade after its last tenants left, new life will be breathed into the historic New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Ltd building in Dunedin. The exterior of the category two, 1872 building will be restored and the second floor redeveloped into a 24-unit apartment complex if a proposed resource consent application is approved, owner Russell Lund says.
    Read more

    Thu, 10 Jul 2014
    First steps in redevelopment
    By Timothy Brown
    Building consent has been granted for earthquake strengthening of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Co Ltd building in Thomas Burns St, and resource consent was publicly notified last week. The building consent allowed an estimated $50,000 of earthquake strengthening – including securing masonry walls to the roof diaphragms and a concrete floor being laid on the second floor – to go ahead. Further earthquake strengthening would take place if the redevelopment received resource consent.
    Read more

    Thu, 10 Jul 2014
    Records give insight into early Dunedin
    A glimpse into the early history of Dunedin has been discovered by the developers of the historic New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Ltd building. Lund South Construction foreman, and building site manager, Barry Skudder said a room on the ground floor of the building which had remained untouched since Russell Lund bought the building in mid-’90s was “floor to ceiling full” of records in boxes and crates.
    Read more

    Wed, 16 Jul 2014
    Plans for landmark building outlined
    A tour of Dunedin waterfront landmark the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency building proved popular yesterday.
    Read more

    Mon, 21 Jul 2014
    OPINION Excellent proposal to renew building
    By Peter Entwisle
    Russell Lund, of Lund South, showed a group of Southern Heritage Trust members through the large building last Tuesday and explained the plans for its future. It is a very impressive building with some unusual features and is the work of not one but two leading 19th-century architects, William Mason and R. A. Lawson.
    Read more

    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

    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

    █ Tue, 12 Aug 2014
    (Sub-) EDITORIAL Saving Dunedin’s heritage
    Every effort needs to be made to support owners like [Russell Lund] in their endeavours to refurbish and reuse classic Dunedin buildings.
    The Otago Chamber of Commerce’s opposition to the development of the New Zealand Loan Mercantile Agency Co Ltd building for “mixed use” is disappointing. Caution from some neighbouring businesses no doubt helped prompt the chamber, and concerns about “reverse sensitivity” are understandable. And even though a Dunedin City Council planner has recommended the resource consent application be declined, surely there is a way forward.
    Read more

    Fri, 15 Aug 2014
    OPINION Neighbours flummoxed by planners’ decision
    By Stewart Hansen
    I’m part of the team operating the Wharf Hotel and I’ve been here for the past 14 months. I find it incomprehensible Dunedin City Council planners could recommend declining Russell Lund’s consent application for the Loan Mercantile Agency Co Ltd building, which would breathe new life into what could become a derelict building. Here’s a guy prepared to part with some serious coin and do something positive and our planners say no. Really?
    Read more

    Wed, 20 Aug 2014
    Building a rarity
    By Debbie Porteous
    The Loan and Mercantile Building in Dunedin is the most significant 19th century warehouse building remaining in the country, art and architectural historian Peter Entwisle says. “Its future should be weighed accordingly.” Mr Entwisle made the claim while making a submission on the building’s history and heritage significance to a panel considering whether to give consent to convert to apartments the top floor of the building in Dunedin’s industrial wharf area.
    Read more

  7. Whippet

    If the Council lets this one through we might as well throw the District Plan away. The District Plan was designed by the people for the people. If you wanted changes, then you should have done it at the time that the District Plan was being developed. Everybody had an opportunity at the time. If you now want change then do it through a variation to the District Plan. Otherwise crawl back into your cave and wait for submissions to the new plan, and make sure you take part and stop whinging after the event.

    • Elizabeth

      Unduly and hopelessly negative, Whippet.

      I might agree with you if, say, we were discussing the ongoing travesty in the Rural zone – meaning the subdivision of productive farmland for life-stylers and suburban sprawl in the greater Dunedin area, tied to my complete abhorrence of DCC planning decisions both notified and non-notified which are driving at pace this disgraceful erosion and nullification of rural values.

      That said, the subject site at 31-33 Thomas Burns Street is partly but not wholly wrought as an anomaly in the Port 2 zone (at the Steamer Basin) – the short-sighted result, limitation and weakness of the Harbourside Plan Change appeal process. It can be argued that along with the former Gregg’s coffee factory and the Wharf Hotel, the NZ Loan and Mercantile Building would be better located in an extension to the recently established Harbourside zone. In any case, this is all strongly complicated by the overlay of the Queens Garden Heritage Precinct (TH12).

      Things to consider, briefly here: the heritage values of the rare and unique building are very significant; there is district-plan protection for the entire external building envelope; the property is regarded as a true exception (see tabled evidence that supports this status); and the proposed residential activity for the upper floor will have effects that are no more than minor.

      The proposed development does not and cannot be represented as a ‘straight loss’ of industrial land as I think you may be inferring. It is my thesis that on becoming familiar with the submissions, evidence and planning arguments of all involved parties, your position cannot be sustained.

      The 2GP isn’t relevant in regards to this resource consent application. Don’t whinge.

  8. Hype O'Thermia

    Besides there’s the Wharf Hotel a few paces away. Wasn’t it an accommodation business back in the day? Hotels used to commonly have a few permanents as well as the people staying only a night or two. Single people used to live in hotels or in private board, it was far more common than communal groups of unrelated people i.e. “flatting” as we know it now. I don’t know if anyone lives on the premises now, quite likely there’s at least one staff member or management. So it’s not as if the proposal to use the top floor of the Loan & Merc for accommodation is going to flood the area with picky “sea view” lifestylers expecting the rest of the area to change, not like the city folks who buy up rural land and then kick up about rural machinery noises at harvest time, rural smells, the sound of sheep bleating and cows “bulling” their cries of lust, when what they wanted was lovely meadows with wildflowers and a couple of designer alpacas.

  9. Whippet

    “The property is regarded as a true exception.”
    How many times have we seen that one trotted out recently. The building was build for industry on a site that is now zoned industrial, and should remain as such. If somebody wants to buy the building. Then they should comply with the district plan,
    Hype. What was the land zoning for the Wharf Hotel at the time of its construction.
    We are seeing too much of out of zone applications being granted by the DCC. The Question is Why have a District Plan and all the associated costs, submissions and Environment Court hearings, if a hearings committee can take no notice of the district plan, and give a decision that has no relevance to the district plan.
    If we take away the district plan there are no rules, or guidelines for the city. That is exactly the way that our present council runs this city through its hearings committees.
    So why not throw away the district plan, and the council carry on as they do now. It would save the ratepayers millions.

  10. Elizabeth

    Whippet, I note you feel strongly. However, the district plan does allow for applications for resource consent! If you oppose(d) the application you then had the consultative ability to make your views known through the public submission process. Notwithstanding, the city planners recommend the application should be declined. I hope it is not.
    Once again, I suggest you read all available submissions, evidence, planning information (note this is the Port 2 zone not Industrial 1, and with TH12 overlay – residential activity is not precluded as a use in this zone) and indeed, the right of reply from the applicant and his experts. Better still, if there is another public site tour I strongly suggest you attend in order to appreciate the site location and the historic building in its fullness.

    Call me hypocritical for defending this portside heritage building which has outstanding yet not straightforward build qualities for contemporary adaptive reuse and redevelopment, that include components for conservational and restorative treatment. As such the zoning and the strength of the structure (see staging of the owner’s investment and consent granted to enhance building performance at the upper level to date, with more to follow) make the NZ Loan and Mercantile Building an excellent support to port activity for the future.

    This is another remarkable Dunedin instance, many will agree, of the right owner and the right building – a subtle, well-directed, worthy blend for enrichment of this city’s fabric and portside industrial heritage.

    Woe is me, a layperson who is hard to please. I can’t help but be impressed by what the applicant and his team of experts (planning/resource management, legal, historic heritage, architectural design, engineering, and other specialisms by consultancy) bring to re-examination of this staple object in our built environment – for that, the district plan has rightful flexibility and grain of tolerance.

  11. Whippet

    You describe the district plan has rightful flexibility and a grain of tolerance.
    Flexibility: Capable of being bent.
    How fitting that is for a DCC document.
    Tolerance: Like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    That’s OK if you are on the same side as the beholder.

  12. Elizabeth

    Added to post at top of thread:

    For ESCO Dunedin Pty Ltd – Evidence of Shane Roberts, independent planning expert (Opus International Consultants).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s