Sellers of the Warkworth BNZ building fear that similar properties of historic interest will crumble and fall down completely, unless the government steps in to help owners maintain their character and make them safe.
Tenders for purchase of the notable landmark, and the modern building next door where the BNZ is currently located, close on August 2.
Owners Grant and Jan Tipling, of Matakana, have had to invest heavily in major upgrades to the building to meet earthquake and heritage requirements.
“Having to provide heritage reports and satisfy Council’s heritage and structural requirements has been a huge challenge,” Grant says.
“The community wants these buildings retained but they are expecting the owners to meet the cost of any redevelopment work, which I feel is a little unfair” he says.
It’s less of a problem in major centres, where such properties can attract high rents. But in smaller places, owners are unable to justify the cost of upgrades.
“There’s a lot of places with beautiful buildings, but they are just crumbling away; people can’t afford to keep them up,” says Jan.
The original BNZ building in Warkworth was built in 1928 and is typical of the style of bank buildings of the period, featuring big facades with triple layers of brick.
The more modern building next door was required by Council to harmonise with the old building as much as possible.
Despite the daunting costs, the Tiplings decided to fund the improvements, ensuring Warkworth residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the historic building in good repair for decades to come.
Grant says the building should not require any further significant work for 50 years.