The iconic St Gerard’s Church and Monastery in Wellington is being sold through a real estate agent who has long personal ties to the International Catholic Programme of Evangelisation (ICPE), the Catholic institution that owns the building.
Real estate agent James Copeland said he once lived for a year at the building as his parents ran the first ever missionary school there.
“I was on the school with them. I wasn’t a participant at the school, but I lived there for a year,” Mr Copeland said.
His father, former Cabinet minister Gordon Copeland, was also St Gerard’s Maintenance and Restoration Trust chairman when the owners were presented with a $10 million earthquake strengthening bill.
“Mum and Dad had their 25th, 40th and 50th wedding anniversaries there. We had Dad’s funeral there four years ago,” he said.
“So, it’s a very, very important building for our family spiritually, and as a kind of legacy building, I suppose, for Dad and all the work that he did for the Catholic Church and all the work that he did for the ICPE.”
Mr Copeland said he is very confident that the building will be sold. It has a rateable value of $16.9 million. It will be sold by tender which closes on March 16.
“It’s all in God’s hands and I’m surrendering it to him every single day. The owners do want to get it sold because there’s a lot of work that needs to be done on it. They’re a missionary organisation and they cannot afford the work that needs to be done,” he said.
Mr Copeland said he has received a lot of inquiries so far which is not surprising considering the position the building is in Wellington.
“It’s an iconic building. You can see it from all over the city, wherever you are,” he said. He added the Wellington City Council “very generously lights up the building every night up to 3am”.
Mr Copeland said the building is ready for the next chapter of its life. He said it could be turned into a boutique hotel, a boutique building or even a very large home.
He said as it is a heritage building, its façade will be left untouched.
The building has sweeping views from the northern part which overlooks Oriental Bay, while from the western side one can see major landmarks in the city like Clyde Quay, the waterfront, the CBD, the stadium and Victoria University.
The church was deconsecrated in 2021, with Wellington Cardinal John Dew celebrating the last Mass on May 23 of that year.
Mr Copeland said there are still a number of sacred items, like chalices, paintings and statues left in the building. He said the organisation is trying to find a home for them in the Catholic Church.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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