$1.5m makeover for Morgan's mansion

By John Cousins

1 comment
Investment manager Gareth Morgan plans to modernise his property on Marine 
Parade, dramatically changing its appearance.
Investment manager Gareth Morgan plans to modernise his property on Marine Parade, dramatically changing its appearance.

Economist and investment manager Gareth Morgan is planning a $1.5 million facelift of his apartment complex on Tauranga's blue chip Marine Parade.

Mr Morgan, who continues to polarise public opinion with his Cats to Go campaign, will dramatically alter the appearance of the mansion which he bought nearly three years ago for $6 million from bankrupt property developer Paul Hollis.

"I want to change the whole way it looks," Mr Morgan said.

The building hit the news last year when the five newly-refurbished ground floor apartments used by Mr Morgan's family were flooded after a stormwater pond across the road failed to cope with April's deluge.

Instead of overflowing into the dunes, the water cascaded across Marine Parade and entered four properties, leaving the council's insurer to meet all the costs to repair the Morgan's property.

Quizzed about the $1.5 million building consent issued by the council in December, Mr Morgan said it was mostly to modernise the building, with some alterations inside.

"We want to make it look a bit more contemporary. It will look great, that is the big reason we are doing it."

The eight-month construction project was expected to begin on March 1 in order that he and wife, Jo, will be in the new-look holiday home by Christmas. He said the concrete building did not have any weather tightness issues.

They hired Tauranga's Creative Space Architectural Design to modernise the building which he compared to an ammunition case.

The tired wooden panels will be replaced with ceramics and aluminium - the ceramics on the building's exterior cladding and the aluminium screens to keep out the sun on the windows.

He said the harsh marine environment meant the wood was "starting to look a bit crap" and they discovered that ceramics looked pretty cool.

The Morgans quickly found that because the wooden panels on their upstairs holiday home only extended two-thirds of the way up the big feature windows, they were "just about being fried alive" on sunny summer days.

"The aluminium looks smarter and is more functional," he said.

They were also replacing the roof covering but not reconstructing the roof, together with altering some of the bedrooms.

Their aim was to spend up to three months of the year living at Mount Maunganui whereas it was currently a bit over half that time.

"It is a nice contrast to Wellington," he said.

As for his Cats to Go campaign, in which he calls the animals "natural born killers" that prey on native wildlife, Mr Morgan said the public mood was swinging around to his way of thinking.

"I am not anti-cats but anti-wandering cats."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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