The heritage National Bank building opposite Victoria Square in Christchurch will be returned to its former glory by the same people who restored the former Twisted Hop site now home to Dux Central in Lichfield Street.
Auckland-based investors Patrick Fontein and Paul Naylor have bought the 90-year-old Georgian Revival building, on the corner of Colombo and Armagh Sts, from the The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust.
Courtney Doig of Colliers International, who sold the building in conjunction with Paul Vining, said there was strong interest in the building because of its heritage nature and superb location.
“The Trustees are delighted that the buyers are long term investors who are going to restore the building and strengthen it to 100% of the New Building Standard. They didn’t have the expertise to do it themselves and they wanted to ensure any buyer had the ability to redevelop the building and, at the same time, preserve its historic and aesthetic character.”
Doig said that any heritage buildings coming to the market are usually keenly sought because they are now so scarce.
Fontein and Naylor began working on projects in Christchurch before the earthquakes, and are now developing the Vodafone and Kathmandu sites in the Innovation Precinct with Calder Stewart – both properties have subsequently been sold to Queenstown investor Ron Mackersy. The pair still owns a car parking building at 160 Lichfield Street (opposite the Ng building) and is also developing a three-storey office and retail complex at 150 Lichfield Street.
They have restored several heritage buildings in Auckland and strengthened the now Dux Central to 100% of new code.
“We’ve always admired the National Bank building – it’s solid and survived the earthquakes pretty well because of some previous strengthening but it still needs a lot of work. We will start strengthening in February to bring it up to 100% of code and start to think about its best use,” Fontein said.
“It’s a fabulous building in a great location, opposite Victoria Square, and alongside the proposed Convention Centre. We think it could lend itself to a variety of uses such as high-end apartments, a boutique hotel or hospitality and offices.
“The key to these buildings is retaining their heritage character, but strengthening them and essentially making them as new. In Christchurch there are not many of heritage buildings left so they will always stand out.”
Fontein said he and Naylor are always looking for investment opportunities in Christchurch.
For further information please contact Courtney Doig and Paul Vining.