Hurunui District Council supports spa plan for Queen Mary Hospital building

The owner of the Queen Mary Hospital in Hanmer Springs, the Hurunui District Council, is supportive of a new plan to turn one of the site’s heritage buildings into a luxury day spa.

ChisholmSpaConceptHanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa has released a plan to build New Zealand’s first European-style day spa in the Chisholm Ward of the hospital. The Chisholm Ward is a heritage building with a category one listing that has been unused since the hospital closed in 2003.

The plan for Chisholm Spa includes indoor and outdoor pools, a hammam (steam room) and an ice cave. It will also have treatment rooms, an eaterie and a retail boutique. The pools’ management team is seeking public feedback on the proposal before it launches a formal search for a joint venture investor for the $15 million development.

Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley says Chisholm Spa would be a major boost for the district, and a much needed catalyst for the productive use of fantastic Heritage buildings that otherwise are a potential liability to Hurunui Ratepayers and are at risk of deterioration.

“This will be the biggest single development to take place in Hurunui for many years and it sees a building that has sat unoccupied for 12 years put to good use in a way that respects its key heritage features.”

The Hurunui District Council has owned the Queen Mary Hospital site since 2010. Since then, attempts to occupy the buildings have failed. This included an attempt by Bayleys Real Estate to lease all or parts of the buildings in 2012.

Mayor Dalley says more than half a million dollars has been spent mothballing and maintaining the buildings since the council took over their ownership. He says, like the pools’ management committee, councillors are keen to hear feedback from ratepayers about the proposal.

“This plan will take a long time to come to fruition. The pools have to find a joint venture investor, finalise the concept and then it has to go through an approval process that will involve public consultation and liaison over the heritage elements.”

“They’re beatiful buildings and it has been disappointing that until now no one has come up with a solid plan to use them – despite Bayleys’ worldwide advertising for expressions of interest. This plan gives us hope that we’ll see life and activity in the Queen Mary Hospital buildings once more,” concludes Mayor Dalley.