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The 1883 NZ Loan & Mercantile building designed by R A Lawson has been described by the late historian Peter Entwistle in 2014 as the finest surviving Victorian warehouse in the country. Mr Entwistle noted that the design was inspired by the papal residence Villa Guilia in Rome, designed by Michelangelo & Vasari in 1550.

It remained the Dunedin headquarters of the NZ Loan & Mercantile Agency Co until its 1961 merger with Dalgety. The company acted as stock and station agents, and more controversially in its early years also represented the interests of British absentee landlords and estate holders. Dalgety merged with Pyne Gould Guiness in 1983, which continues in business today as PGG Wrightson.  


From 1961, the building went through uses of declining marginal utility, including the final indignity of housing a mammoth collection of used car parts until the present owner purchased the building.


However instead of celebrating long forgotten colonial grandees and institutions these apartments are a stunning multilayered revitalization of one of New Zealand’s foundational working buildings where trains literally passed through the waterfront building, full of noise and workmen toiling away storing, compressing and distributing to nearby British ships the pastoral products of grain and wool that built the economy of young New Zealand.

“A most handsome front indeed, and is very appropriate and well adapted for buildings of this class.”

Otago Witness, 1875.

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