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Esplanade Hotel’s state worries heritage group

Flagstaff Team

Hoping for better things at the Esplanade… Margot McRae (left) and Trish Deans of Devonport Heritage 

The Esplanade Hotel’s “sad and dangerous state of disrepair” has prompted a Devonport Heritage campaign to encourage the owner to better maintain the 120-year-old building.

“We are extremely concerned about the condition of the Esplanade,” Devonport Heritage chair Margot McRae said in a letter to owners Sun Aohua Ltd.

The 1903 hotel has the highest level of protection given to historic buildings in New Zealand, with a category A heritage listing and a category 1 heritage classification under the Auckland Unitary Plan.

“However, it is in a sad and dangerous state of disrepair,” McRae said.

Devonport Heritage wants the owner to provide a maintenance programme as evidence of ongoing upkeep.

“Its exterior is unkempt and worn and is in desperate need of repainting,” McRae said.

The interior was showing severe signs of dampness and some furniture was worn out. Earthquake strengthening also needed to be addressed soon.

Devonport people had repeatedly told the heritage group that they were sad and angry at the neglected state of the building, McRae said.

It was hugely valued by locals for its beauty and history and until recently it was a thriving venue, she added. “It’s the last waterfront hotel in Devonport, and we know what happened to the Masonic (turned into apartments without a hospitality function after it was poorly maintained for years),” McRae said. 

The Esplanade sold to Sun Aohua NZ Ltd for $6.2 million in 2015.

The Flagstaff reported at the time that the buyers were a family from Guangzhou, in southern China.

The building had previously sold in 2004, for $3.91 million. The Flagstaff approached the owner for comment but had not received a response by deadline.

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