Free villa

PHOTO: John McLaughlan and Debbie Malthus own 317 Hardy St and will demolish the old building on the site as they could not give the house away. Photo: Martin de Ruyter/Stuff

It was free to a good home but a historic villa will now be demolished after no-one took up the opportunity to relocate it.

The house in Nelson, on New Zealand’s South Island will come down this week to make way for eight multimillion-dollar townhouses.

Property developer John McLaughlan said he listed the house at 317 Hardy St for free a few months ago. He had two people interested in it but “it had all been too difficult to move it”.

It was going to cost about $150,000 to move the building, “then you’ve got all the other costs on top of that”.

“You could be looking down the thick end of double that,” plus the cost of a property to put it on.

Much of the joinery, fittings, lead lighting and other items of value will be salvaged before demolition and sold. Photo: Martin de Ruyter/Stuff

“One lady did a lot of research on moving it, and she spent quite a lot of money,” but in the end, it wasn’t viable, he said.

McLaughlan said the building, which no longer looked like it did more than 100 years ago, had asbestos that was being removed this week.

It had been “messed around with inside” with rooms added and was “a bit of a rabbit warren”.

The house had been vacant for the past year but was previously mainly used as a commercial building for doctors.

McLaughlan said he would have “loved to have seen someone lift it off and take it away”, but instead the old building would live on in its fittings and joinery being sold on Facebook Marketplace.

“What is valuable will be sold off before demolition to interested parties.”

He planned to put one of the chandeliers into the townhouse he and his partner, Debbie Malthus were moving into for “posterity”.