Futuro spaceship sold - but not to the highest bidder
Dunedin's iconic Futuro spaceship won't be taking off anytime soon after being sold to a new owner who plans to leave it where it is.
After being put on the market in early September, the spaceship was this week sold to an anonymous Futuro fan who plans to keep it in its famous Warrington home.
Juanita Clearwater said her family trust which owned the Futuro had accepted an offer from an anonymous Kiwi doctor. He bought it sight unseen with an unconditional cash offer.
"We had higher offers but we took the one that was the least complicated and most passionate about the home, which was a defining factor for me," Clearwater said. "So, we did have higher offers but we thought, no, this gentleman is going to appreciate it the most and will look after it."
Clearwater received more than 300 emails about the property, with expressions of interest coming from as far afield as America, Canada, the UK and Australia.
However, she said it was a "very easy decision" to sell it to the "lovely" new owner.
"I just phoned him to tell him we had decided to accept his offer and he was over the moon. He's a doctor, so I'm sure he'll really appreciate getting away to a nice spot."
Clearwater said the sale had "met the highest price of any Futuro in New Zealand" which she put down to its excellent condition and permanent location.
Futuro's don't often sell in situ. A Christchurch homeowner tried to sell their Port Hills Futuro for $610,000 in 2014 but after a lengthy sale period, it was eventually sold to a buyer in Christchurch for $75,000.
"People always reflect on what the last one sold for and I think they've been undersold for a long time in New Zealand because people didn't see the value of them. But, I'm sure the great price that it sold for will help Futuro owners sell them in the future."
The Clearwater family were stunned at the interest the Futuro received over the past two weeks.
"It's been an amazing whirlwind two weeks," Clearwater said. "The Trade Me listing has been viewed nearly 50,000 times and we've gotten from all over the world. I actually had to make it easier for myself by making a brochure to send out to people."
Clearwater had been contacted by a real estate agents who were interested in selling the property for her.
"I actually had emails from two or three real estate agents who told me that I wouldn't be abe to get the best price for it if I didn't deal with them because I wouldn't be able to market it properly and get the best exposure," Clearwater said. "But, it's now been in The New York Post, The Guardian and even a paper in Finland."
Clearwater said it "broke her heart" to sell the ship but she was glad she and her children got to experience the joys of owning a Futuro.
"We've got a slightly longer settlement for the gentleman I will get to go visit it a couple more times before it settles, so that's lovely," Clearwater said. "But I will always be sad, it will always feel like it's apart of me."
"The funny thing about it is, I think with these particular ships that once you've owned it, your stamp is on it forever. We're always referring to Grant Major (Academy Award winning Production Designer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy) owning it before me, and I feel like I am now immortalised in the history of the Warrington ship."
The Futuro is eight metres in diameter and four metres high and is accessed through a 13 square metre conservatory. The home was sold fully furnished with all kitchen items included
"It really is a special place," Clearwater said. "I only allowed three people to go through and view it and the first comment everyone made was "oh my god it's huge". They could not tell from the outside what it would feel like inside and how enormous it feels once you're in it. It's almost like the TARDIS from Doctor Who."
The home had been a local icon ever since it was moved to Warrington in 1975. As a part of the original sale conditions, the home was opened to the public for two days. The open house attracted over 5000 people and caused such a large traffic jam that local police had to be called to keep things in order.
"There's a totally addictive quality to (Futuros) and it's not because of their rarity, it's the aesthetics that people are attracted to," Clearwater said.