Published 16 December 2008
Natural-health training institute, the Wellpark College of Natural Therapies, has bought the former Centrepoint Community’s 7.6ha site off Oteha Valley Rd, Albany.
College principal Phillip Cottingham said the land purchase was part of its expansion plans to cater for increasing numbers of domestic & foreign students training for a career in natural therapies.
He said New Zealand was seen as a leader in the natural health industry globally. Wellpark is one of the largest institutions of its kind in Australia or New Zealand.
Immediate plans for the bushclad site is a $2-300,000 spend to rebuild accommodation, kitchen & toilet facilities: “The buildings are in a very rundown state. Ultimately we will spend between $1-1.5 million over 2-3 years to bring the site up to modern professional educational standards.”
Given the history of the property, one of the first tasks when Wellpark takes possession in April will be a clearing & blessing by local iwi.
The Public Trust sold the property on behalf of the NZ Community Growth Trust, which is the successor to the Centrepoint Community Trust. Bayleys Realty Group sales consultant Nigel McNeill, who brokered the deal, said Wellpark was the perfect buyer for a property that came with a history.
The site, to be renamed Wellpark College North Shore Campus, will initially be used to run residential courses in aromatherapy, nutrition, naturopathy, herbalism, yoga & ayurvedic medicine. It will also be used as a living complex for tutors, domestic & international students studying on site and at Wellpark’s main educational campus in Grey Lynn.
Wellpark also plans to establish a top-class research centre in natural medicine at Albany, collaborating with other tertiary education institutes in New Zealand & worldwide – as well as running residential natural healing clinics. It plans to attract leading figures in the wellbeing field to hold symposiums at the site and to be a major focus for New Zealanders interested in natural wellbeing.
“The new campus will allow us to expand our focus on modern evidence-based healthcare, combined with best traditional medicine methods.” Mr Cottingham said.
Other plans are for facilities such as the swimming pool and craft, dance & yoga studios to be available for the wider North Shore community at discounted rates and to allow public use of walking tracks on the land.
The Wellpark bid was successful over several others tendered – other plans included a technology park and an arts centre. A separate part of the land will provide ongoing accommodation for members of the Kahikatea Eco Art Village who currently live & work there.
“Part of what we are also planning is to preserve this beautiful natural area in what is becoming the busy & high-density area of Albany. It is just off the motorway and a short distance from the North Harbour Stadium, but the bush & space gives a real feeling of being deep in nature.”
Public Trust spokesman Simon Dixie said the Public Trust, as trustee, was pleased with the successful tender result: “We are very satisfied with this sale as we believe the property is going to a good home. Not only has a price been received that was above valuation, but also – and just as importantly – Wellpark has undertaken to preserve this beautiful natural area.”
Mr Cottingham & his wife, Jenny, have been involved in natural therapies for 27 years. They ran their first wellbeing class in Auckland in the 1980s – 5 students in a room in their garden. By 1990 demand saw them move to rented premises in central Auckland and then buy the campus in Grey Lynn.
The college now turns over $2.5 million/year, with a 300-plus student population, 4 faculty heads & 40 academic tutors, including medical doctors.
10% of the students this year were from overseas. Wellpark offers diploma certifications and plans to offer degree programmes.
27 October 2008: Centrepoint property out to tender
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Attribution: Wellpark release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.