Councillor Sarah Free, Community Facilities Portfolio leader, says while some may be sad to see the old hall go, it is part of an overall plan for better facilities in the area. "The old hall is earthquake prone and would need expensive repairs. The Karori Community Hall Trust has been working for several years on plans for a purpose built hall adjacent to the community centre and have fundraised most of what they need, which will include proceeds from this sale. It is important to note that the disposal process will include appropriate community consultation and finding other alternative venues for groups currently using the old hall."
Chairperson for the Governance, Finance and Planning Committee, Deputy Mayor, Justin Lester, says the Council acquired the St John’s Hall site in 2000 but it’s now surplus to requirements. “With things gathering pace with the planning and development of the Kaori Events Centre, now is a good time for a developer with vision to step up and turn this site into an attractive addition to the suburb.”
The St John's Hall site for disposal is roughly 1,020m2. Councillor Andy Foster, Chair for the Transport and Urban Development Committee, says it would ideally be sold to a developer who would demolish the hall and redevelop the site. "We anticipate a fair amount of interest as it is a prime corner site. What we’re looking for is the best possible design for the site and best possible mix of activities and uses for it.”
Councillor Free adds that she hopes the Karori Community will rally around and help fundraise for the last remaining amounts of money for the new Kaori Events Centre. "I would really like to acknowledge Wally Simmers, who has chaired the Trust for several years, before finally retiring this year. The Trust has lots of new energetic people, but they need the community to step up now and help make the Centre a reality. It will be a great asset for Karori."
The St John’s Hall property will be advertised for sale in August.