Cassels opposes 'sentimental' Town Hall strengthening

2:53 pm on 2 April 2017

A Wellington property developer believes the city council's plan to spend $90 million strengthening the Town Hall is "misguided".

Wellington Town Hall.

Wellington's Town Hall Photo: RNZ

The heritage-listed Wellington Town Hall building is more than 100 years old and has been closed due to earthquake risk since 2012.

The council will soon begin consulting on the strengthening project, which should be completed in 2021. Initial plans for a $45m project ballooned first to $60m, then to $90m.

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Victoria University's Wellington School of Music have been vying to be long-term tenants.

Property developer Ian Cassels said the planned upgrade to a building on land worth $20 million and which would not give the city any new assets, was disproportionate.

Mr Cassels said more information was needed.

Wellington Town Hall refurbish balloons to $90 million

The building was constructed in 1904 Photo: RNZ / YouTube

"If it was $200 million we would spend it, if it was $300 million we would spend it. It worries me that we're romantically, sentimentally going to lurch into it and how many more of these might we do before we work out it's a bit misguided."

Mr Cassels said that with a bit more ingenuity the building could probably be strengthened to a lesser standard for a fraction of the cost.

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