Greytown hospital transformed into a multi-family home

For these sellers, it’s been a 10-year labour of love

14 December 2023

Property developer Ryan Smock and his wife Nadine took on a mammoth job when they bought this former Greytown hospital building 10 years ago. It was a beloved part of Greytown history, built in the 1880s and finally closing in the late 1990s. The cluster of buildings making up the hospital was subdivided in 2013 and this building at 193 East Road was the home of the maternity ward among other things.

“When I first saw the building, although it had 56 broken windows and floors that had been stolen, I could see the bones and the overall structure were all there,” says Ryan.

Everything that you could imagine needed to be done was done in the next seven years, says Ryan, who is a land developer working on boutique subdivisions locally in nearby Carterton among other property roles.

“Everything had to be done on a grand scale,” he adds. The redoubtable couple stayed on task, and due to an impressive 36 pages of Excel spreadsheets set up by IT project manager, Nadine, they didn’t go over budget.

A trench was dug around the side of the house to put in new sewers, the plumbing was completely replaced, as were the electrics. “Every piece of wiring from the lightswitch to the lamppost has been replaced,” says Ryan. The couple put in a big 27 kilowatt wood burning fire and they also have a heat transfer system which moves the warm air around the house.

The walls are 14 inches thick and made of brick and solid masonry. There’s full solid plaster over the brick and masonry done in 1885 so it’s wonderfully soundproofed, says the owner.

Ryan laughs, the couple had to put locks on the doors because you don’t tend to lock a hospital up, it’s open 365 days a year.

The last job they did was build a new three car garage. Ryan was ambitious about what he wanted it to be, making it an extensive 110 sqm, with a high stud to accommodate a motorhome or boat and with internal access to the house.

The home’s code compliance certificate (CCC) for residential zoning was finally secured in 2019, with this news even making it to the local paper.

And the end result is a spacious 858 sq m home of six bedrooms and three bathrooms with lots of living space inside and outside.

The home is laid out in three separate zones. There’s the main part of the house where the couple currently live, with an enviably spacious primary bedroom and ensuite, extensive living room, dining room and contemporary kitchen with all the mod cons and high spec features. In another zone is the 190 sq m guest wing of three double bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and living, which could be used as a luxury holiday accommodation space with its separate entrance, suggests Ryan. He’s been told this could rent out for $500 a night. There’s also a commercial zone on the left of the property which comprises two offices and a reception room as you enter the main foyer.

The ballroom, entered by large double doors, can be used by any of the three zones, and has resource consent for weddings and events. In fact it’s where Ryan and Nadine renewed their vows two years ago.

It’s where the maternity suite of the hospital was with 10,000 babies born there over the years. The room with beautiful polished rimu floor would also make a great gallery, studio or tea room, Ryan suggests. It has the mobility ramps, mobility impaired toilets and fire exits all there.

“It isn’t a heritage building and that’s a good thing, says the owner.” It’s an icon to the town but it’s still our home.”

Everyone who’s lived in the area for generations seems to have an association with the former hospital, the Smocks have found. In 1991, the hospital was in possible danger of being demolished and 4000 local men, women and children came and held hands around the property encircling it six times to protest. A further 1000 people went to Wellington to express their opposition outside the Beehive.

A leisurely lifestyle

So, who will take on the mantle of this property next now the hard work is done? The home, which has a 12 m saltwater pool installed by the couple and an outside kitchen, is well suited to multi-family living or professionals who still want to keep some clients on the books, and enjoy a resort-style lifestyle, say the owners.

It would also suit a group of friends co-owning it and living there together, says Ryan. “It’s ideal for this kind of living. You don’t have to interact if you don’t want to. You’re never on top of each other,” he says. As well as the 858 sq m house there’s 3000 sq m of grounds which are fully fenced.

The house excels at indoor outdoor flow. It’s like a giant pavilion in the summer with airflow, and huge sliding windows, says Ryan.

“And on rainy days, it’s a place where the kids are playing skittles in the ballroom and the grown-ups are playing darts in the garage. Everything is effortless,” says Ryan.

“The house really comes to life when it’s full of people and activity,” adds the developer, who says the property may seem large but it’s still homely as buyers will see when they visit.

The location, meanwhile, is very quiet and private. The home, on the outskirts of Greytown, looks onto a farm so has a rural aspect, but at the same time, it’s an easy walk into Greytown’s main street for a coffee.

What does a home like this sell for? Tremains Wairarapa’s Jaime Slater and Eva Wintle say on the Trade Me Property listing that offers over $2,995,000 are being sought.

“You couldn’t build it for that today. The ballroom has 120 sq m of perfect rimu floor, where could you buy that now?” asks Ryan.

Interest so far has been from international buyers or immigrants fresh to Aotearoa, says Ryan. He and Nadine are off to live in their favourite holiday destination, Noosa for their next act.

“We’re open to offers as we’re ready for the move to the Sunshine Coast,” says the seller. He says the home is available almost fully furnished if that’s of interest to buyers.


Gill South
Gill South