Written by Ray White Remuera
Stage one was always going to be the most challenging and time consuming with the preservation of the old kiln fired golden bricks and much of the demolition wheelbarrowed out onto the road.
It is easy to understand the excitement and weekly anticipation with the progress for the restoration/build of the three storey office for the proud Team at Megan Jaffe Real Estate Ltd.
The demolition phase is complete with the substantial propping and steel fixing of the original facade and east wall. Stage one was always going to be the most challenging and time consuming with the preservation of the old kiln fired golden bricks and much of the demolition wheelbarrowed out onto the road. Henderson demolition and their Papakura based team were superb - nothing was too much trouble.
For those interested 'the best' timber in the old building was the hard wood Oregon pine floor joists and rafters with a small amount of Rimu flooring - no Kauri which is not surprising as after 1910-15 it became scarce and expensive.
Many people are asking “what has happened to the magnificent lead lights from above the shop front windows?” with phone enquiries from as far away as Dunedin. Well, they have been carefully removed, packed up and sent away for meticulous restoration. These truly beautiful English made Windsor era glass panels could well be the last piece of this ‘complex’ build. Complex because the owners respect that the end result needs to represent everything good about a restoration/build in a significant heritage precinct.
We have now moved to the foundation piling which is expected to take another two weeks, then a further two weeks of linking the steel and concrete ground beams to the fourteen piles. It is interesting to note that when the simple two storey brick structure was built over a 7 month period in 1926, the piles consisted of shallow placements of four layers of brick and hand mixed concrete (presumable there were no earth quakes then!). Today we have 14 piles up to 17 metres deep each holding 2.7 tons of steel cages and a truck load of concrete.
This is the third building on this site - the first was the Remuera Road Board office 1902. In 1915 that building became the first Remuera Public Library when Remuera amalgamated with Auckland City. After a new library was built along the road in 1926 the impressive wooden structure was relocated to Pt Chevalier.
The present building could well be the first significant restoration in the Remuera shopping centre in a generation - soon to become a flagship Ray White office for the business heart of our much loved community.