Historic hall needs tenants

Last updated 09:11 03/11/2012

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KiwiRail is looking for new tenants for the old Railway Social Hall, which has been leased for the past few years by the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust.

The Settlement Trust is moving to the Wharewaka building on Wellington's waterfront and to try to stem losses from the financially troubled Wharewaka.

Trust chairman Mahara Okeroa said the Wharewaka was "an iconic site and by moving there it reinforced our place on the foreshore and in Wellington city".

That alone was good reason for being there. There were also financial advantages, but that had nothing to do with the recent receivership of the Wharewaka catering business KPR Event Management which was put into receivership last month with debts of more than $2.5 million.

The red brick social hall, next to platform nine and just off Waterloo Quay, was built for the Railways Department in 1936 at a cost of 15,000 pounds and has an Historic Places Category 1 listing.

It was upgraded and strengthened to code in 2009 to provide boutique office space - a project which won CCM Architects a heritage award.

Originally the building's ground floor was used as garaging for Railways head office along with rooms for the chauffeur to the general manager, social hall meeting rooms and cloakrooms. There was also a large hall with a stage upstairs for railways staff to socialise.

Bayleys agent Fraser Press was not prepared to disclose the lease terms being offered or what the present tenants were paying.

"This was a special building and a special location and we've got to find a special tenant."

He said it would be available from mid-November.

Press said the social hall had 650 square metres of space on two floors and there were six dedicated car parks.

"Aside from a new glass facade under the building's original south verandah, the external appearance of the building remains unaltered in line with Historic Places Trust and Wellington City Council guidelines.

"Internally, all important historic features including stairs, intricate plastered ceilings, and original paneling have been retained while creating open-plan office space in what was the garage and the auditorium, and enclosed individual offices where there were originally meeting rooms," Press said.

"This is a great example of a well- preserved historic Wellington building that has a lot of soul."

It was "quirky character space with a high-quality fit-out that would appeal to creative professionals such as architects, designers and the like".

It was also a very good location.

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- The Dominion Post

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