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Buyers of old Ashburton library revealed

Buyers of old Ashburton library revealed

Local property developers have purchased the old Ashburton Public Library.

CBR Properties Limited completed the purchase of the old library site for $1.1 million from the Ashburton District Council on Friday.

The company's directors, Barry and Chris Redmond, could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The building, on the corner of State Highway 1 and Havelock Street, was home to the Ashburton library for nearly 60 years and it’s unclear what plans the Redmonds have for the building.

The council had deemed it was not economical to strengthen and upgrade the building, opting instead to incorporate a new modern library with a new administration building.

Te Whare Whakatere, the new library and civic centre, opened earlier this year.

The decision was made to put the old library site up for sale at the end of last year.

Three offers were made but the property was snapped up by the Redmonds.

The developers own the property next door - 241 West Street Ashburton – which they had planned to redevelop in 2017 but were halted by the Peter Cates grain store being a heritage-listed building.

The Redmonds also own the arcade in central Ashburton as well as several other sites.

Last year they completed the redevelopment of what had been a two-storey building on East Street that was once home to Ashburton's oldest café, Reflections.

It was demolished to make way for a modern single-storey building.

New Zealand Bed Company has moved to one side of the new building.

The council planned to use the funds from the sale of the old library to be put towards paying off the construction of Te Whare Whakatere, the new library and civic centre, offsetting the impact on ratepayers.

Initially budgeted at $56.7m, before its completion the council signaled an overrun in the region of 10%. The final tally is yet to be confirmed.

The project also received $20m from the government’s shovel-ready infrastructure fund.

The council also planned to sell the old administration building site but council chief executive Hamish Riach said a decision on that had not yet been made.

By Jonathan Leask