Anderson House new lease on life

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    Anderson House. Photo: Sanda Jukic

    IF plans to convert Anderson House into a multi-use facility gains public support the community will be able to access the beloved historic house again.

    At an Invercargill City Council meeting two weeks ago, councillors agreed further investigation was required before a decision was made about the future use of the house.

    Option four was the recommended option, which would incorporate a tea rooms, function and performance spaces and permanent historic displays, but councillors requested more consultation was needed before a decision could be made.

    “Again and again the public have told us they want it open. Option four has the most possibilities,” Cr Lesley Soper said.

    Anderson House has been closed to the public since January 2015 after it was deemed an earthquake risk.

    The council indicated it wanted to determine the best future use for the building before bringing it up to code.

    Impact Consulting, which had been engaged to conduct extensive community consultation and review the feasibility of potential uses for the category one historic building, recommended Anderson House be used by both the community and commercial enterprise, incorporating a book/gift shop, function/event space, artist in residence, performance/movie theatre, tea rooms in the summer and permanent historic displays. This option was supported by VS.

    Impact Consulting estimated the development would require a capital investment of about $2.2 million (including $800,000 for earthquake strengthening and $600,000 for fire safety, accessibility, elevator and delayed repairs and maintenance).

    VS business projects co-ordinator Rhiannon Suter said the consultation process had attracted about 400 responses, the majority of which did not want Anderson House to be used solely for commercial use.

    “People wanted access.”

    Option four would allow this but could also include revenue-generating business, such as a cafe, she said.

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