Plans for Wellington’s landmark St Gerard’s Monastery shelved


Plans to develop Wellington landmark St Gerard’s Monastery into a hotel have been shelved.

Developer Richard Burrell says the work needed to renovate the impressive brick building for an international hotel chain is just “too hard”.

Burrell had been in talks with the hotel chain to buy the building once about $20 million worth of earthquake strengthening and renovation work was complete.

He says he decided to drop the project when the chain wanted a “significant” addition to the building.

“They wanted to get 200 plus rooms and the building itself will take only 40,” says Burrell.

“So they wanted another 150 [rooms] built at the top of Hawker St. It looked like to me like working your way through five years of resource consent approvals. It was just too hard.”

The 115-year-old landmark building is now back on the market to be sold by tender. It’s thought the guide price is about $7m.

Burrell says he believes the hotel chain is now talking to other developers in the city.

“We would have liked to have done it, we didn’t do it. But I think there is now quite a bit of interest, and we’ll find out over the next six weeks (if there’s a buyer).”

It’s thought Burrell had offered $5 million for the earthquake-prone, heritage-listed building.

He is the second developer to step away from plans to rescue the building and convert it for modern use.

Last October, Wellington building developer Maurice Clark dropped plans to convert the building into a public facility.

About St Gerard’s

Built in the Gothic revival style for the Catholic Redemptorist order, the 115-year-old buildings are packed with significant architectural features. These include stained-glass in the chapel, native timbers throughout, and a pair of tracery windows in the library and small chapel, with views over the harbour.

The monastery and chapel were the first in the world to be dedicated to the Italian saint Gerard Majella.

In 1995, the International Catholic Programme of Evangelisation (ICPE), a missionary school, bought the buildings to use as accommodation and teaching space for its international congregation.

It was yellow-stickered after the 2011 Kaikōura earthquake, and sits at about 25% of code. The ICPE has until 2027 to complete strengthening.

The building was opened for 2018 Wellington Heritage Week and saw more than 1500 visitors during the weekend.

The last mass in the chapel was held in 2021. The chapel has since been deconsecrated.

Information for buyers

St Gerard’s sits on a 2433m² section of some of the capital’s most coveted real estate. It has commanding views of the harbour and city. It is classified as a Heritage New Zealand Category 1-listed building.

It has an RV of $16.9m, $16.4m of which is for the land alone.

The listing for St Gerard’s is with James Copeland for Tommy’s real estate. Viewings are by appointment only, and tenders must by in 16 March (it will not be sold prior).


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News category: New Zealand.