Timaru property a blessing in disguise

Last updated 16:10 01/09/2014

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There are lots of benefits that come with living in a church hall. 

Giving directions to your house would be easy - "just keep an eye out for the giant church, we're right next door!".

You'd have at least 30 more minutes in bed on a Sunday morning - you'd always make it to the service on time.

And last, but certainly not least Christmas time would be amazing - could there be a more awesome backdrop for decorations?  

The only downside would probably be the puns. Oh the puns. 

But the good really does outweigh the bad, which is why we can't help but marvel at this century-old, former Presbyterian church hall that's for sale in Temuka, Canterbury.

It's only the second time the incredible property has been on the market in a hundred years, so if you miss out now you might not get another chance in this lifetime.

And don't worry, you won't have a mass of strangers turning up at different times during the week, it's no longer used as a church hall.

The two-storey, red brick building was sold into private ownership in 2002 - with owners Hayley and Darren Larsen painstakingly spending the follwing 12 years redeveloping the building into its current multi-purpose state.

What was the church's main hall was been converted into a 40-seat food and beverage operation - including an open-plan upper mezzanine floor wrap around balcony, café bar, and commercial kitchen space.

Meanwhile, the former Sunday school rooms and meeting chambers have been converted into a luxury five bedroom residence and pair of one-bedroom luxury apartments - each with their own separate access.

Much of the church hall's original structures have been kept intact - including the courtyard pond and three-tier fountain, the hand-forged wrought iron entrance gates swinging off hand-built stone block walls, and the timber floorboards and internal framing.

During the redevelopment process, builders even discovered a 'secret room' containing the dated signatures of the tradesmen who built the church in 1913.

The 451 square metre building sits on 1350 square metres of land with car parking for four vehicles to the rear of the property. The land is zoned residential one, with permitted use for the café as a food and beverage venue, and it is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Timaru through a tender process closing on September 26.

Salesperson Sue Morton said the new configuration of the property offered multiple revenue or residency options. It could be considered purely as an investment - with leases to the café and the three separate residential dwellings, or alternatively, it could be bought as an owner/occupier food and beverage business premises, with the bonus of running the two apartments as either staff accommodation or for rental.

"Or it could operate as a substantial function venue with multiple associated accommodation - for the likes of hosting weddings where guests of the bride or groom could stay on site before and after the occasion. It would be ironic that after witnessing the consecration of hundreds of wedding over the past hundred or so years, the building could evolve into being the next step in the process, hosting the post-marriage festivities."

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But there is also the opportunity of simply just living here.

Morton said that the residential component of the building had been completed to a 'turn-key' level ready for immediate occupation, but some minor finishing works were required for the café infrastructure to become fully consented and functional.

Both the five-bedroom home and the adjoining apartments had been highly-spec'd in their fit-out, said Morton - encompassing the inclusion of spa baths, heat pumps, tile finishes, heated mirrors, and ornate plaster work.

- Stuff

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