REAL ESTATE

Up for sale – the Castor Bay Presbyterian Church and hall could be resurrected from house of God into a family home. Up for sale – the Castor Bay Presbyterian Church and hall could be resurrected from house of God into a family home. CREDIT: The PR Shop

Historic church poised to sell into private ownership

Monday 8 October 2012, 6:14PM
By Bayleys
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The changing demographics of suburban Auckland have brought about the sale of a fully-functioning church and its adjoining church hall.

The Castor Bay Presbyterian Church on Auckland’s North Shore has been deemed surplus to requirements by the local parish, which is instead now concentrating its congregation into attending services at the bigger and more modern sister site in Mairangi Bay some two kilometres away.

 

As a result, the church and adjoining hall have been placed on the market for sale. The two buildings sit on 1133 square metres of land with vast views over Milford Beach and the Waitemata Harbour.

The church hall was built on the Seaview Road site in 1933. At that time it was the first Presbyterian place of worship to be built in Auckland north of Takapuna. The church structure was brought onto the land in 1979 in what was a joint partnership with the Anglican diocese.

Mairangi and Castor Bays Presbyterian Church property and finance convenor George Wyman said that while it was unfortunate the hallowed house of God was being closed and sold, it was simply a reflection of Auckland’s changing and ever-growing society.

“The decision to sell has not been an easy one, but it is a case of facing reality and the decision has been unanimous within the church,” Mr Wyman said.

“When the Seaview Road church site was originally established in the 1930s, Castor Bay and Mairangi Bay over the hill were two totally separate suburbs whose residents tended to stay ‘local’.

“During the intervening period as Auckland’s population has grown at a phenomenal rate, Castor Bay and Mairangi Bay have, in effect, merged into continual suburb now regarded as the East Coast Bays.

“Simultaneously with that, people have become far more comfortable about travelling five or 10 kilometres for such routine activities as shopping, children’s sports, dining out, and for Sunday worship,” Mr Wyman said.

“After a lengthy consultation period of some five years – including the analysis of attendance numbers at both the Castor Bay and Mairangi Bay churches - it became obvious that it would be more efficient to combine both congregations into one location and make good use of the proceeds which will come from selling the Seaview Road property.”

In addition to the Presbyterians, the Castor Bay church and hall are currently used by the Anglicans from the Milford parish, and a Korean congregation. Several community groups, including the pre-school education organisation Mainly Music, still regularly utilise the hall facilities during the week.

The Castor Bay land and buildings have a capital valuation of $1.125milllion, although Mr Wyman said it would be up to potential purchasers to judge how much the real estate was worth. There are no graves on the site, and the church and neighbouring hall have no historical or heritage classifications.

Mr Wyman said the church was hoping to negotiate a settlement period which would allow for farewell services to be held over Christmas, and potentially even Easter 2013, although this would be negotiated with any new owner of the property.

The location is zoned Residential 4 under the Auckland Council plan. The church buildings and land are being sold by Bayleys Mairangi Bay through a tender process closing on October 25. Salesperson Peter Christoffersen said there were multiple options for development of the site.

“The location of the buildings on the plot means that subject to council consent, the section could be subdivided and stand-alone residential dwellings made from each of the two existing structures,” Mr Christoffersen said.

“Or there is the potential to combine the buildings into one dwelling. Or expand the church into a character home and operate the hall as a secondary residential dwelling. Or, have both structures removed and a more modern residence built on what would be a substantial piece of land with expansive views over the harbour and city.

“The church is built of native New Zealand timbers, including kauri, and would suit a renovation type project for conversion into a blessed character home. Nearby residents are all hoping that the church and hall will be bought by someone with a passion for maintaining the neighbourhood feel of the area by preserving the character of these two wonderful old buildings.”