Wigram Air Base complex sold

10:17 PM Tuesday October 2, 2018 True Commercial

The Art Deco accommodation and function complex is on Christchurch’s former Wigram Air Base. Photo / Supplied

A distinctive Art Deco accommodation and function complex on the former Wigram Air Base site in Christchurch has been sold to an Auckland buyer through Savills.

The property, at 14 Henry Wigram Drive, was sold to Andrew Do, who owns several properties nationwide including international school facilities and a large office building in Addington.

Ben Cameron, sales executive at Savills who negotiated the deal, says Do is planning to open a hospitality training facility on the property, following renovation of the guest rooms which is expected to start soon.

As part of the renovation project, the existing 40 guest rooms will be converted into around 24 larger ensuite rooms to accommodate hospitality students on-site.

The conference/function facilities will be retained, both for practical training purposes and for students to have the opportunity to be involved in running functions as part of their education.

The renovation of the building’s accommodation wings will be carried out in stages, with the function centre remaining open and continuing to host events.

“We’re pleased to have assisted with the sale of this character-filled building, which heralds the next stage in its long and illustrious history,” says Cameron.

“Converting the property to a training facility while retaining it as a function venue is a great way to maximise the use of the buildings. The fact that it was purchased by an Auckland investor also indicates a vote of confidence in Christchurch from the out-of-town buyer market.”

Known as Wigram Base, the complex was built in 1938. It originally housed the Royal New Zealand Air Force Wigram officers’ mess and accommodation. RNZAF officers who were based at Wigram dined and imbibed there for decades.

The property was converted to a function venue in the 1990s and since then the buildings have hosted royal visits, dinners, weddings and international delegations.

“It’s a piece of Christchurch’s history, dating back to when Wigram served as the South Island’s principal air force base,” Cameron says.

The 2049sq m complex on 8782sq m of freehold land, comprises three interlinked buildings housing accommodation over two levels as well as a restaurant, bar and conference/event facilities.

Among the buildings’ character features are a ballroom with timber parquet floor and art deco ceiling, as well as an anteroom with an original fireplace.

The large grounds include landscaped gardens, lawns and car parking. The original St Marks Chapel, which was built in 1943 as part of the RNZAF base, is also on the property.