Christchurch heritage vicarage buyers seek council grant
A Christchurch couple who have bought a historic vicarage say they need ratepayers' help to restore it.
Ester Vallero and Matthew Reid bought the old St Luke's vicarage on Kilmore St from the Anglican Church for $850,000. The church put the double-storey timber building on the market last year after the church next to it was demolished due to earthquake damage.
The couple have begun work on the 1868 double-storey timber building, which has a category one listing with Heritage New Zealand. They estimate it will cost $1.1 million to repair, strengthen and restore it so they can make it their family home.
Vallero and Reid have applied to the Christchurch City Council for a heritage grant of about $200,000.
The council's social and community development committee was on Thursday evenly split on whether to recommend the grant, and referred the issue to the full council without a recommendation. Council staff have recommended a grant of up to $204,892 be made.
Considering the application, Cr Aaron Keown said: "I looked at this property myself, but ran a mile. That is a marriage killer, right there. Million dollar do up."
Any grant would come from the council's significant heritage incentive grand fund, which contributes up to half the cost of conservation and strengthening work for listed buildings. This is separate from the central city landmark heritage fund, which provides larger sums for significant buildings.
The building was designed by British architect Robert Speechly, whose other designs included the Christ's College chapel, St Mary's church in Merivale and St Mary's church in Addington.
After being used as the vicarage until the mid-1990s, the building was used as church offices but has been vacant since being damaged in Canterbury's earthquakes.
Vallero and Reid said they were very excited about the project, and it was a big job that they wanted to do respectfully. There was a lot to do, including fixing the land under the house, they said.
Since starting repairs, they have seen bits of Christchurch history coming out of the cracks, including finding bits of old wallpaper, a piece of a 1867 newspaper, and little lost toys.