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Council considers next stage of Municipal Building development

CBD 0113

The redevelopment of the Municipal Building in Hastings is progressing with earthquake strengthening work set to be completed by April next year, and planning underway for Stage 2 of the redevelopment.

The building was closed more than five years ago for the strengthening works, and since that time extensive consultation has taken place with the community to determine the future of this heritage facility.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the Municipal Building is the final element that will unlock the full potential of the entire Toitoi - Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre precinct.

“When we went out to the community for their thoughts on the future of both the Opera House and the Municipal Building, the feedback gathered showed a real desire from the community to protect our special heritage building for the next 100 years, and as part of the Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre bring significant economic and social benefits to Hastings district.

“Our vision, shaped by and for our community, is to create a place for activities and events that everyone can enjoy and feel a part of, while also incorporating cultural, educational and commercial uses, helping revitalise Hastings city.”

To date Council has committed $23.8m to the Toitoi strengthening and redevelopment project, and has also been successful in attracting $9.47m of external funding, $4.75m of which was specifically for the Municipal Building re-strengthening work.

Council group manager corporate Bruce Allan said cost estimates made in a business case to complete the Municipal Building redevelopment that were endorsed in August last year have become more refined with more detailed designing and costing.

This has included updated costing of the fit-out estimates based on finalised designs.

In addition, efforts to gain more external funding have to date been unsuccessful, however the intention is to submit more applications.

These factors have brought the total funding needed to complete the project to $5.5m. Hastings District Council will consider a request to approve $5.5m in funding to bring the overarching vision to life at a Council meeting next week.

Council had been planning a community fundraising programme, but that this was taken off the table in light of the impact of COVID-19, he added.

Mrs Hazlehurst said as part of the overall Toitoi arts and culture precinct, the Municipal Building will bring the community together, provide educational pathways for our young people, and showcase the rich cultural tradition of Ngāti Kahungunu and the performing arts as a whole.

“Since re-opening the refurbished Hawke’s Bay Opera House and Functions on Hastings in February we have seen our community’s enthusiasm to support these facilities.

“We know people can’t wait to get back into the Municipal Building, to dance in the Assembly Room, to celebrate in the Shakespeare Room and to enjoy the hospitality that will be on offer in the laneways that are planned.”

26 July 2021

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