Work to begin on clearing 8 and 10 Dent Street

Published on 18 September 2023

An image of Almond Court Flat on 8 and 10 Dent Street.

Fences have gone up and contractors will soon begin clearing the Almond Court Flats and weeds from 8 and 10 Dent Street, following a decision from Council to create a clear site for any development.

The site has been ear-marked for hotel development since consultation and engagement in 2012, said Whangarei Mayor Vince Cocurullo.  

“At the time Council had been working for several years to identify a suitable location to offer for development of the District’s first four-star hotel.

“This prime site beside Laurie Hall park was occupied by the Forum North Childcare and Education Centre (in a Victorian villa at 10 Dent Street) and the Almond Court flats at 8 Dent Street. Both sets of buildings were coming to the ends of their useable lives without major renovations.”

“Following public consultation on the proposal to offer the sites up for hotel development, the Childcare Centre moved to a purpose-built facility on Riverside Drive.

Investigations revealed that the cost to renovate the flats was far greater than any likely return on the investment, so the decision was made to relocate tenants to other suitable housing. The Villa was removed and the flats were decommissioned but remained standing, boarded up.

“Knowing that a clear site would be more attractive to developers, we called for expressions of interest from six parties, emphasising the need to re-purpose materials where possible for use in other civic or community projects, and the contract has been awarded to a local contractor, Steve Bowling Contractors.

“We know that many people are fond of these flats and will be sad to see them go and we have considered all the alternatives over the decade or so since the decision to offer the site up for hotel development.

“Before any final decisions were made discussions were held with the Historic Places Trust. They revealed that while these flats are warmly regarded, they are not of historical, social or architectural significance. 

“It was important to do this research because we do respect buildings of historical significance – for example recently we have invested $7.4million in the restoration of the Old Municipal Building. 

Old Municipal Building

“Ultimately, while I am sad to see them go when they have been a bit of a landmark for most of us under 60-years-old or so, I am also really excited at the benefits of any development at this site,” said Mayor Cocurullo. 

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