Renovations to start on historic building

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Overdue renovations on the Lavish Soap building in Itchen St are expected to be completed by October this year.

The building is owned by North Island couple Rick and Angela Stolwerk, from Waipu, and has needed a renovation since they bought it nearly 10 years ago.

Mr Stolwerk said when they bought the property in about 2006, they knew the roof needed to be fixed after being damaged in a fire in the 1970s.

“The renovations are overdue.”

At first they thought it would just be the roof but realised they needed to do more to comply with earthquake-strengthening regulations.

“We have been talking about it for a long time,” he said.

They have been working with the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust, New Zealand Historic Places Trust and Heritage New Zealand to organise the renovations.

Once they have a report from Heritage New Zealand and resource consent from the Waitaki District Council, they will begin building, he said.

“We’re aiming to have it done by October this year,” Mr Stolwerk said.

They will be completely gutting the old building and will put up concrete slabs, corrugated iron at the back and an Oamaru stone facade at the front.

“Once the building starts, it will be quick,” Mr Stolwerk said.

“We’re just looking forward to it being finished.”

Mrs Stolwerk said they visited Oamaru in 1988 and fell in love with the place, so when the opportunity came to buy the three stores on the corner of Itchen St and Tyne St, they could not help themselves.

“We like the Oamaru stone,” she said.

Lavish Soap, owned by Kay Parker and Dixie Boraman, have been moving out over the past few weeks and will be temporarily located in Harbour St until the work is finished.

By RUBY HARFIELD