$1m church sold to Buddhist group

By Hana Garrett-Walker

The Castor Bay church is thought to be more than 100 years old. It and the church hall, built in 1933, sit on a 1133sq m block of prime real estate. Photo / Supplied
The Castor Bay church is thought to be more than 100 years old. It and the church hall, built in 1933, sit on a 1133sq m block of prime real estate. Photo / Supplied

It was not a hard decision for a Presbyterian Church to hand over its million-dollar church to a Buddhist group, its parish clerk says.

The Castor Bay Presbyterian Church on Auckland's North Shore was put on the market in September after its dwindling and ageing congregation accepted it was impractical to keep it.

The church has ocean views, and sits beside a separate hall on a 1133sq metre block of prime real estate valued at $1.125 million. It was marketed as a property which could be turned into a family home or removed for a new building.

It ended up being sold to a Buddhist group for $1.55m.

Seven tenders were received for the premises, but parish clerk Stewart Milne said the decision to sell it to a Buddhist group was not difficult.

"The Buddhist group was the more satisfactory proposal from our point of view, in terms of money and in terms of use; where the buildings weren't going to be removed."

The Buddhist religious education society, which already owns various sections of land in New Zealand, told the Castor Bay Presbyterian Church that it did not plan to remove either the church or the hall which sat on the property, Mr Milne said.

Nor did they have any immediate plans to develop the section.

"I think they're quite happy with it. In the future I guess they might make changes to the buildings but ... their intention was just to use the buildings as they were."

Other tenders proposed commercial development of the site, or residential development.

The Castor Bay Presbyterian Church will hold its final worship sessions over Easter in April next year.

"It is a celebration of what the church has meant to so many families, and the community too," Mr Milne said.

The Seaview Rd parishioners would amalgamate with another Presbyterian congregation at nearby Mairangi Bay.

- APNZ

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