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Join Hawke’s Bay’s newest retail and hospo precinct


Hastings is humming with activity and nowhere is that more evident than at the CBD’s heritage Municipal Building development, part of the wider Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre cultural precinct.

The Category 1 Historic building has been undergoing extensive earthquake strengthening, alongside a full interior refurbishment. Now, after six years and $23.8 million, the project is nearing completion, with the first round of leases available from early to mid-2022.

Hastings District Council group manager corporate Bruce Allan says expressions of interest for the Municipal Building are being taken now, with a range of unique spaces available for businesses who want to invest in Hastings’ CBD.

Situated adjacent to the historic Toitoi Opera House, beloved by locals and visitors alike, and connected by a new, activated laneway, he said spaces like this do not come up very often.

“These spaces aren’t just special because they’re modern spaces in a heritage building. They’re also part of Toitoi’s wider footprint, which means the neighbouring sites are actively working to bring potential customers into these spaces, during the day and at night, seven days a week,” he said.

With more than 100 events and 50,000 visitors each year, Toitoi hosts a diverse range of theatre and live performances, alongside conferences and business events. The Municipal Building is a key part of Toitoi’s mix of spaces, Mr Allan said, and therefore getting the right tenants was important.

“Toitoi is a home for curiosity and creative expression, where the wider Hawke’s Bay community, and visitors from elsewhere in the country, come together to laugh, learn and celebrate. The Toitoi team is committed to leading their industry, so we want like-minded tenants who are equally determined to innovate to get ahead.”

There are three spaces available for lease in the first stage of the development.

The first is a 183m2 hospitality space which opens out onto both Heretaunga St and the new Opera House laneway, maximising the potential for outdoor dining to make the most of the stunning Hawke’s Bay summers and its abundance of high quality local produce.

At the other end of the Municipal Building is a 61m2 retail or hospitality space on the corner of Heretaunga and Hastings Sts, a prime site for both foot traffic and street visibility as locals drive into the city centre from Havelock North.

And finally, a perfectly formed 33m2 space is available directly off the Opera House laneway – which Mr Allan said was perfect for a distinct, but complementary, hospitality offering to the neighbouring restaurant.

“This space is an opportunity to help bring the laneway to life, while also making every customer feel like they’ve stumbled across Hastings’ best-kept secret.”

He said the leased spaces within the development were designed to make the most of foot traffic and the people the neighbouring sites would bring into the area.

“We’re hoping to find tenants for these spaces who will fit in with our other East block Heretaunga St business owners and operators – which is a community of creators, innovators and trail-blazers in a part of the CBD where high-quality heritage leases don’t come up very often.”

Stage two of the Municipal Building development will include up to five further tenancies, ideal for boutique or outside-the-box retail offerings.

Mr Allan said there was also flexibility around specifications and commercial arrangements for all available spaces, subject to negotiation.

Hastings is currently undergoing a renaissance, with millions of dollars of investment happening across the city, through both council and private developers, resulting in a feeling of ‘underground cool’, similar to Grey Lynn in the 1990s.

An $8 million Quest Hotel is being built behind the Municipal Building to open in 2022. It will provide 10,000 bed nights per year and won’t have in-house hospitality.

Meanwhile, retail spending is up, too. The quarter ended September 2020 saw an 8.1 per cent increase in retail spend on the previous year, to $53m.

Mr Allan said Hastings would continue growing in the coming years and now was the time to make the most of the excitement building locally and nationally for what was on offer.

“We’re a city of extremely proud locals, who want the best for our community. Our visitors are captivated by our diverse range of unique experiences. So, for the Municipal Building, we want tenants who aren’t content with the status quo,” he said.

“We want people who are going to roll their sleeves up and help us be even better than we already are. It’s really that simple.”

 Find out more at

 View a fly-through of the ground floor of the Municipal Building below:

26 July 2021

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