St Paul's Church land sold for development
Timaru businessman Kevin Pateman has bought St Paul's Church in Seddon St, and hopes to use the site for housing.
Timaru's Presbyterian Parish put the church and grounds on the market in August, after it was forced to rationalise its properties in the wake of the merger in 2009.
Parish clerk Ken Falconer said the sale went unconditional last week.
"We are pleased to reach an agreement with the buyer, but it's also a sad and nostalgic time for many of the older members, who had strong connections to the church," he said.
Mr Pateman owns appliance store Lighthouse Timaru.
"The church has severe earthquake damage, so my intention once demolition and clearing of the site is completed is to develop a residential subdivision of 14 sections," he said.
Mr Pateman said he expected demand to be strong for the sections, as they would be close to Highfield Village Mall and other retail outlets.
He said the smaller sites (550 to 600 square metres) would appeal to people "wanting to downsize", while the three larger sites would appeal to those who wanted to build "rather grand homes with well-landscaped grounds".
Mr Pateman hoped to begin work on the site in January.
He declined to disclose the sale price, but the site has a land value of about $1 million. The property has residential zoning and five titles.
The parish had also put Chalmers Church on the market at the same time, but Mr Falconer said it had not received a suitable offer yet.
Earthquake strengthening will be the responsibility of the new owners. The work on Chalmers is estimated to cost more than $1m though it was cleared by engineers for use without it. Strengthening work on St Paul's was estimated at between $400,000 and $800,000.
The parish has about 500 active members. It holds services at Trinity Church in College Rd and St Stephen's in Wai-iti Rd. Any funds from the sale of Chalmers will go towards development of the parish's proposed new complex in Wai-iti Rd.
"We've got a reasonable idea of what we want the new complex to look like, and the initial conceptual drawings have been prepared," Mr Falconer said.
The Timaru Herald