The cost of restoring a 116-year-old Auckland veteran's building almost doubled, from an original $6 million to $10m according to the project's chief.

Graham Wilkinson, a director of the privately-owned retirement chain Generus Living Group, said estimates to restore Three Kings' Ranfurly House were originally in the $6m to $7m range.

"But Lord Ranfurly had built it in about six months and we realised why: there were almost no foundations. Methods of building were less robust in 1903 and we found the woodpiles were not embedded in anything permanent," he said.

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Wilkinson's business and the Ranfurly Veteran's Trust formed a joint venture at the property which resulted in the Ranfurly Retirement Village. The trust struck a lease of about 100 years to a Generus business and now receives an income from the new retirement village, yet to be finished.

Wilkinson at the property in 2015. Photo / Nick Reed
Wilkinson at the property in 2015. Photo / Nick Reed

"We have installed a basement, piles and new foundations so we've got a lot of extra room, although we ended up spending a lot more than expected. But it should last for another 100 years," Wilkinson said.

Ranfurly opened on December 10, 1903.

"The restoration is preserving an important piece of history. It's the centrepiece of the Ranfurly Village. The trust does amazing work to help veterans and their families, so restoring this heirloom and establishing world-class facilities to enable even better service to the veterans' community has been really rewarding," Wilkinson said.

The village has a 60-bed hospital and will have 192 apartments on completion in 2021.

Ranfurly House has a restaurant, bar, library and community rooms on the ground floor. It also has a theatre and Ranfurly Veterans' Trust offices and areas where associated veteran organisations can operate from.

David McGregor, trust chairman, said his organisation had long awaited the unveiling of the memorial site.

Boyd Cox were the contractors and Sumich Chaplin the architects.


A re-opening ceremony is planned for this afternoon.