A proposal to renovate an old Whanganui building into riverside apartments has already attracted a number of potential buyers.

And the developer behind the Bridgewater Quay project, John Hay, says they are making steady progress in the planning stages.

"We're getting individual prices for all of the elements involved. For instance, all of the external joinery, the roofing, all of the partitioning, concrete works, bricklaying.

"Each of those sub-trades requires a different set of drawings so they can submit their costings. It's quite a long process but it's the only way to do it to get accurate for them and for us."


Hay said he still felt absolutely positive about the venture, but that the costs were a caveat.

"With a new build you know what you're up for," he said.

"When you're doing a renovation there's always the unknown. And so that's why we're taking every precaution to make sure there's nothing that jumps out at us costwise."

On Monday, December 10, two engineers are coming from Wellington to drill holes and check for liquefaction.

"Next week we get the geotechnical guys ... doing earthquake and liquefaction testing. Liquefaction's a whole new thing since the earthquakes ... the two engineers are coming ... with an augur to drill holes."

Hay said there was a lot of interest and he said he would let people know when he was able to give them an idea as to what the prices of the apartments would be.

The Whanganui Chronicle has received calls from people interested in the proposal and wanting to talk with Hay.

"I've had really, really good feedback. I've had people that have made contact ... there's lots of interest. Everybody's been really positive other than a few people that made some comments about flooding. It's good that people comment ... they don't all have to be positive about it."


Hay allayed the flooding fears and added they were considering how to protect the building from increasingly worse elements.

"As far as the flooding is concerned, the truth of the matter is the biggest flood that Whanganui's ever had didn't breach the building. It was still about half a metre below the floor height.

"We're also going to take some precautions by increasing the height the flood would have to come even further to breach the ground floor. Global warming and the potential for more wet weather and rain - we've got to take those claims seriously. We'll have some mitigation plans to accommodate even higher flooding."

Hay said the council was showing it was on board.

"You might have noticed there's been all new roading done along the front on Taupo Quay," Hay said.

"They [council] put the concrete driveway into the new road in readiness for the access so that's how committed they are."

Hay has brought in local architectural draftsman Mike Baylis, from Sharpe Architectural Services, to provide detailed drawings to help work out more precise costs.

Other local firms being used are White Aluminium, who will provide all the external joinery (windows, sliding doors etc), and Strong Electrical.