News | 16 January 2020
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Building grants preserve history and protect the future

Funding is available for heritage and resilience projects for buildings in the capital - but owners will need to get in quick for this round of funding.

Image of Phoenix House being restored

The Built Heritage Incentive Fund established in 2005, provides funding for heritage buildings, with 85% of funding directed towards seismic related works, and the remaining 15% for conservation projects.

Meanwhile, the Building Resilience Fund, introduced last year, is targeted at non-heritage buildings which are earthquake prone, or have the potential to be. The fund is to allow for detailed seismic assessments ahead of strengthening.

Janet Mason and Roger McDonald, the current co-owners of Phoenix House (formerly the Red Cross Building and known colloquially as The Manor), received $84,000 via the Build Heritage Incentive Fund in April 2018, for seismic strengthening and to help restore it to its former glory.

The Edwardian Tudor-style building on Willis and Ghuznee Street intersection was designed by William Turnbull in the early 1900’s, and Janet says they were delighted to have the opportunity to acquire the building in 2007 with a view to faithfully restoring it to its original prestigious condition, prominence and usage.

“Heritage properties such as Phoenix House are cultural assets of New Zealand and inform the evolving cultural landscape of our wonderful country. As such the cultural values of such properties belong to all of us.

“The cost of restoring and strengthening heritage buildings in a manner sympathetic to original fabric, structure, historic value and features is not a cheap activity to undertake, and one certainly more expensive than replacing with new.  BHIF support has given us the confidence and means to tackle the enormity of earthquake strengthening the building to meet contemporary standards, and to take on additional external work to maximise the restoration of the building to its original look.

“Right from the initial planning stages and investigations into what best mosaic of funding to put in for the earthquake strengthening and preservation works required for Phoenix House Wellington City Council staff have been extremely informative, assistive and proactive in working with us to ensure that the preservation works can be undertaken,” adds Janet.

Building Resilience and Heritage portfolio lead, Councillor Iona Pannett, says these funds help tackle the Council’s resilience and environmental objectives, which – according to public feedback – is a top priority for Wellingtonians.

“It’s important for our city’s buildings to be resilient and for heritage buildings to be restored as they are visual reminders of our rich history and culture.

“These grants allow us to be proactive with property owners to offer across the board support so we can help them make our city’s future more resilient.”

Owners of earthquake-prone and heritage buildings have until 5 February 2020 to apply for funding assistance through the Council’s Building Resilience Fund (BRF) and the Built Heritage Incentive Fund (BHIF).

There will be a second round of funding for both expected to be later in the year.

The BHIF helps owners of heritage buildings with seismic strengthening and heritage conservation works.

The BRF helps owners of non-heritage buildings with the cost or part-cost of a detailed seismic assessment ahead of building strengthening. The building must be either:

  • Primarily residential use (more than 50%) and with a complex ownership arrangement such as a body corporate, or
  • A small (one or two storey) building. (This excludes single residential homes).

Applicants are welcome to contact us with queries or for assistance, email or phone 04 499 4444. Find out more here.