Interest Shown in Old Eltham Municipal Building
Potential buyers have already made enquiries about the old Eltham Municipal Building, following the decision at Monday’s (15 June) Policy and Strategy Committee Meeting to declare the unused building surplus and put up for sale for a nominal sum.
The Committee agreed to a recommendation from the Eltham-Kaponga Community Board that the building be offered for sale, on condition that the buyer has the means to strengthen the building.
The former Municipal Building was closed to the public in 2018 following a detailed Seismic assessment which rated the building at only 8% of the New Building Standard. The cost to strengthen and upgrade the building was conservatively estimated to be up to $1.7 million with community use over the last 30 years being relatively low.
South Taranaki District Mayor Phil Nixon says he would prefer to see ratepayers funds put into buildings that are better used such as the Eltham Town Hall or on urban revitalisation projects such as the Eltham Town Centre masterplan. But while the Council can’t justify spending millions of ratepayers dollars on a building which isn’t used, they would prefer not to lose it either.
“This is an old Council Building that has been underutilised for over 30 years. It would cost a couple of million dollars to upgrade and the Council cannot spend public money doing that when there is no community need for the building. But the Council does recognise the buildings Heritage value and wants to make it as easy as possible for anyone genuinely interested and capable of saving it. Which is why we are offering the building at a nominal price provided the buyer has the means and genuine intention to strengthen and maintain the building.”
Mr Nixon, says he is confident that a buyer will be found and was heartened to hear that enquiries had already been received before the building had even been advertised. He adds that if, after 12 months, no buyer has been found for the building a report will be brought back to the Council for a decision on its future.