Housing seen as too costly for Riddiford building

A run-down Wellington Hospital building will be demolished rather than converted into affordable housing.

Capital & Coast District Health Board agreed to tear down the Riddiford Building after discussions with Wellington City Council revealed it would need significant work to make it fit to live in.

The earthquake-prone building would need $4 million of seismic strengthening work just to make it safe, DHB chief executive Mary Bonner said in a paper presented to the board on Friday.

On top of this, money would need to be spent reconfiguring it, including installing bathrooms and kitchens.

The cost of adapting the building would not be recovered over the five years that it would be available as housing, Mrs Bonner said.

"Any future development on the Wellington site would need to occur in the space occupied by the Riddiford Building which impacts on the available period of use."

Board chairwoman Virginia Hope rebuffed suggestions by board member Helene Ritchie that the building was being eyed up for a new children's hospital.

Ms Ritchie said there were "significant moral and ethical issues" around axing an opportunity to create housing for homeless people.

Deputy chairman Peter Glensor said providing social housing on hospital grounds was not a "core function" of the board.

City council spokesman Richard MacLean said it was not feasible to bring the building up to scratch, which was why the idea was off the table.

The multi-storey building, which has been empty for the past few months, has been home to staff and tenants.

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Contact Bronwyn Torrie
Health reporter
Email: bronwyn.torrie@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @brontorrie

The Dominion Post