PHOTO: Photo credit: Composite: Harcourts / Getty Images
An Auckland mansion belonging to King Charles III has been put on the market for the first time in 72 years.
The heritage mansion, situated on the north-west fringe of Auckland, was inherited by the new monarch from his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who died aged 96 last month after a period of declining health.
As per the real estate service OneRoof, the ownership papers for the 723sqm two-storey brick villa – located on 1.935 hectares of land at 25 Clark Road in Hobsonville – show the registered owner to be Her Majesty the Queen.
The Crown real estate is being offered to the market for the first time in more than seven decades by King Charles via the New Zealand Defence Force, which had used the property – known as Clark House – for Royal New Zealand Airforce (RNZAF) operations from 1950 until their relocation in 2016. For the past six years, the Italianate-style brick home has been boarded up and unused.
According to OneRoof, historical accounts show the Crown paid just £8000 for the property in 1950, but today the holdings – which have a category 1 listing on the Historic Places Register – have a CV of $16.58 million.
As per the service, Clark House was completed in 1902 to showcase new building blocks created by entrepreneur Rice Owen Clark’s ceramic business, made from local clay. The Clark family later turned their pottery business into The Amalgamated Brick and Tile Company, which eventually became the well-known company Ceramco. The Clarks remained in the house until it was sold in 1950.
Until 2016, the RNZAF used the house as offices for Task Force Headquarters, even hosting a South-East Asian Treaty Organisation conference in 1955 in the grand rooms. The property most recently served as a medical unit for the Air Force, with upstairs offices, a reception and medical testing facilities.
Harcourts agent Graham Lewis, who is marketing the property with Sue Noonan for tender, has described the listing as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.
“The building is a fine example of the Italianate villa style. Because of its role as a showpiece, no expense was spared in the building,” Lewis said. “The building is a fine example of the Italianate villa style. Because of its role as a showpiece, no expense was spared.”
His sentiment is backed up on the current listing, which describes the sale of the property as a “once-in-a-lifetime chance to acquire an outstanding technological and archaeological example of New Zealand history”.
According to the current Harcourts listing, the category 1 mansion – in need of restoration – boasts 10 large living rooms and bedrooms, largely gutted kitchen and bathroom areas, an impressive central curved staircase, decorative feature tiles, stained glass windows, carved fire mantelpieces and an annex, built in 1969 by the RNZAF.
“Built using ground-breaking experimental hollow ceramic blocks made by Clark’s adjacent Limeburners Bay earthenware pipe manufacturing plant, the 723sqm, two-storeyed bay villa with extensive garaging is an outstanding example of ornate Italianate appearance with iron-lace verandas, elaborate internal tiling, pressed metal ceilings, papier mache dado panels of Art Nouveau design and kauri features,” the listing reads.
“One of a very few key survivors of important past industrial and military history, no expense was spared in constructing the mansion, which at one time enjoyed several tennis courts, ornamental gardens and a tunnel which linked it with the manufacturing plant.
“It is very rare for a significant property of this kind to be offered to the market in New Zealand… the property is waiting to be immersed by its new owners into the next chapter of its life story.”
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