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Council makes strategic acquisition of two inner city buildings

City Fitness 1

Hastings District Council has bought two inner city buildings to support future development opportunities in relation to the arts and culture precinct on Heretaunga St East.

One of these is the property currently occupied by CityFitness Gym at 340 Heretaunga St East, opposite the Toitoi Municipal Building, and beside the building earmarked to be developed into the Hawke’s Bay Collection, Storage, Research and Archive Centre.

The other is the former church building at 305Heretaunga St East adjoining the Municipal Building.

The 340 Heretaunga St East building cost $7.5m and the other cost $1m.

When the community was consulted on the future of the Opera House, Plaza and Municipal Building in 2016 the feedback led to a vision for these buildings and surrounding area to become an arts precinct, catering for a range of activities – from music and dance to theatre and culinary.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the purchases were a strategic decision to help achieve that vision.

“Our council’s long-term aspirations for this area of the city are for it to be an arts and culture hub, driving increased vibrancy and vitality in our city.

“Acquiring these properties is an intergenerational opportunity to support our community’s vision for Toitoi – giving us options in terms of any future development in this area that support that vision.

“This is not so much about the now, rather it’s thinking about the future for our children and grandchildren. When the opportunity arose to buy these buildings we could see their potential to be a real asset in the future.”

While there’s no definite plans made for these buildings, they offered potential space for expanded arts and culture activities, as well as commercial ones such as conferences and other events some time in the future.

“Across the road from Toitoi the Wesley Methodist Church is building its new community centre and that will have spaces that can be hired for meeting and conferences – these buildings give us more options to add to that,” Mrs Hazlehurst said.

CityFitness has a long-term lease with 12 years yet to run, and income from the lease will largely service the debt and operational costs over that time.

Council will be working through future use opportunities for 305 Heretaunga St East in the coming months and will report back to Council on progress and options.

The purchases were unbudgeted and financed through debt funding.

5 December 2022

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