Christchurch’s Catholic diocese sells retirement village to Baptists


Christchurch’s Catholic diocese is selling its large retirement village in central Christchurch to the Baptist Church.

The proceeds from Maryville Courts will help fund the new $100 million Catholic cathedral and central city precinct, as well as new parish centres throughout the diocese.

The Archer Group, a Baptist Church trust retirement village operator is paying an undisclosed sum for Maryville. The sale is due to be settled in October.

It includes 65 villas, a community centre and gardens on a 1.9-hectare site on Salisbury and Manchester streets.

Maryville Courts was of the first retirement complexes of its type in New Zealand when it opened in the 1980s. Until now, it has been run by a Catholic charitable trust.

However, the city has been without a Catholic cathedral since the February 2011 earthquakes ruined the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. Rebuilding means land and construction costs have to be met.

The new cathedral, a school and other facilities will be sited on Colombo St, opposite Victoria Square. The price ticket for that last piece of a bare riverside property cost $50m.

It is being designed now by Christchurch-based architects Warren and Mahoney Architects and American firm Franck & Lohsen Architects. It will hold 1000 people.

A property developer and investor who owns a piece in the middle of the site has an agreement with the church to build it a new office building and other facilities.

Tony Sewell, head of property for Christchurch’s Catholic diocese, says they are “making progress” on the cathedral and overall precinct’s design.

“We are planning this year, and we will be going from that to consenting probably next year.”

The Catholic diocese says the Maryville sale is part of “a broader strategy associated with funding the new cathedral and new parish centres”.

It is merging suburban parishes around Christchurch, and hopes to raise $26m from selling the surplus church sites. It may also sell the now-cleared Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament site.

In a statement, Archer Group general manager Graeme Mitchell said they were honoured to be buying Maryville, and he wanted to reassure Maryville Courts residents.

“Archer will strive to offer Maryville residents confidence for their future and provide these additional services for residents to enjoy as being part of the wider Archer family,” he said.


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