Michael and Shirley Burgess estimate — as apartment owners for 15 years in the Heritage at Hobson St — that they have been here longer than most, if not all, of the staff who work in the hotel in the building.

"I know it's 15 years, says Shirley, "as the other day I was unwrapping some things we had in our lock-up and I came across an old newspaper with the date on it."

The couple had been living in a Bayswater townhouse but wanted to move into a lock-and-leave property as they had travel plans.

"And I had wanted to live in an apartment for a long time," she says.

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They looked at apartments all around the city, including the waterfront, but because most of the properties they saw there were leasehold, they decided to continue looking for a freehold property. "Being freehold is very important to us," says Michael.

"We didn't actually know there were apartments in the Heritage building," says Shirley, "but an agent rang to say one of the apartments was coming out of the hotel lease pool and the owner wanted to sell.

"Our criteria had been for two bedrooms, two bathrooms and two car parks — and fairly central. We got only one car park, but the others fitted. And we ended up with a second car park in the building later."

Their north-facing apartment is on the fourth floor in the extension area of the original Farmers part of the Heritage complex, with the building's lines continued in the high studs and large steel framed doors and windows opening to the wide deck outside where they have room for table and chairs or outdoor sofas plus barbecue and can enjoy the views out to the harbour.

"The big deck is what made us decide to buy, as we had been used to having a garden and sitting outside in summer," says Shirley.

"With the high studs, the large glass doors and the windows and deck, it is not oppressive," says Michael.

"We get the sun late in the morning on the deck and the rest of the day, and inside, depending on the season. In winter the sun stretches as far as the wine rack by the kitchen entrance; in summer we don't get the sun inside as much, which is good."

From their entrance door, a short hallway opens to the living room, with the kitchen on the other side of the hallway wall.

Facing the deck, the master bedroom and en suite (with laundry) are on the right. On the left are the second bedroom and bathroom with bath. The couple use this second bedroom as their office/Michael's man cave and it has a sofa bed for when grandchildren come to visit.

"Having the two bathrooms is great if the grandchildren or guests are here," says Shirley.
In their time here, the couple have put in a new kitchen, added wardrobes and shelving to the bedrooms, put the laundry in the en suite, painted the kitchen and lounge as well as laying new flooring.

They also have use of the hotel facilities — restaurant, pools and gyms. "And being a hotel, you never have a grumpy concierge — which helps if you lock yourself out of the apartment," says Shirley.

"The security is important, and we get the Herald delivered and can collect our mail from reception."

And they have loved the central location. They are regular theatregoers and the ASB Waterfront Theatre, the Basement and the Q Theatre are all within easy walking distance.
They are selling now because they are moving to Tauranga.

"We are both in our 70s," says Michael, "and so we thought it was time to retire and we want to make a break and have a change."