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Pioneer property enters home and income era

One of Nelson’s oldest pioneer homes has been placed on the market for sale with flexible use options, including a home and income opportunity.

A stalwart of the Nelson landscape visible in early artwork, Church Hill House at 369 Trafalgar Street has been occupied by a colourful collection of early settlers, artisans, religious figures, industrialists and luminaries of European Nelson.

Today, it features nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms, off-street car parking for nine vehicles and a grand heritage aura that cannot be replicated.

Bayleys salesperson Liz Woodall says the home is a tapestry of experience and a sanctuary that has nurtured New Zealanders through the ages.

From humble beginnings in 1843, the mansion has evolved with time and now offers a new era of opportunity for an astute owner.

“Our sellers have utilised the mansion as a sprawling private residence. However, the versatile configuration could easily lend itself for use as a triple income opportunity or commercial venue,” she says.

“Three distinct and separate apartments can be independently occupied and feature private access and exclusive outdoor areas.

“Alternatively, the new owner may wish to leverage the home’s rich history by operating a traditional inn for 14 guests with private owners’ accommodation as per retained resource consent plans.”

Ms Woodall is marketing the property for sale by auction, scheduled on Tuesday, 19th September 2023 (unless sold prior).

Steps from tree-clad Pikimai Park in the city’s centre, Church Hill House occupies a commanding 1,470sq m (more or less) site with multiple access points from Shelbourne Street and Trafalgar Square.

Dubbed initially ‘Forebank’ some 180 years ago for the site’s prominence and sweeping views over the fledgling Nelson township, the impressive premises of today is a collection of Italianate architecture, traditional Victorian and Edwardian grandeur, and hints of the sun-soaked Mediterranean.

Ms Woodall says the property was purchased and redeveloped into a two level grand mansion in 1878 by prominent church figure Bishop Suter.

“The distinctive room above the front entrance is thought to have been his private chapel or prayer room,” she says.

Upon Suter’s passing, the property was bequeathed to the Anglican Diocese and subsequently purchased by Anchor Shipping and Foundry merchant and prominent philanthropist Joseph Henry Cock.

Mr Cock, a church elder, bought the mansion and all improvements outright, securing a ‘forever’ lease with affordable and unrestricted terms.

Ms Woodall says a rare Certificate of Title was granted in perpetuity for the property, with many development approvals from the Anglican Trust since then.

Later use has included a boarding house and the ‘Cathedral Inn’ – an award-winning guesthouse which operated for two decades until 2015.

“The current owners and those before them have passionately invested energy, time and money into upgrading, refurbishing and replanting the entire property.

“While retaining and enhancing the functionality and amenity, they have imbued the property with incredible life, colour, art and charm.

“It remains aglow with the patina of aged native timbers, matai floors, heart rimu and totara structural elements.

“The home has been retrofitted with modern comforts. Wiring and plumbing renewed, insulation, fire ratings and structural integrity assessed.

“Perhaps the most iconic property of central Nelson, discretely rising above the Cathedral City, Church Hill House provides plenty of opportunity, including owning one of the city’s genuine trophy mansions, a commercial endeavour or home and income offering.

“We expect history lovers to be completely beguiled by this incomparable property – for grandeur, character, quality, lifestyle and value – it simply doesn’t get better than this,” Ms Woodall says.

Click here for more information on the listing.

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