The owners of Napier's Central Post Office building are planning to strengthen it as part of a major new retail and office development.
The heritage-listed art deco building was deemed earthquake prone in 2011 and its anchor tenants, the Post Office and Kiwibank, moved out.
It was initially thought the cost of upgrading to 100 per cent of new building standard would be prohibitive.
Gerald Grocott, whose company Waste of Space Aviation owns the property, said that over the past year they looked at options, including demolition.
Detailed engineering assessments were done as various concepts were considered.
"The Central Post Office is an integral part of Napier's history and we have always envisaged the site would play an active role in a thriving CBD.
"It has been a long process but we are looking forward to the future," said Grocott.
Paris Magdalinos Architects did the design and work will be done by Structural Concepts and Gemco Construction.
The redevelopment was designed to overcome previous access issues from Dickens St and create over 800 square metres of new retail space fronting on to the Dickens St carpark.
The total development will include 1400 square metres of retail space and 1400sqm of office space.
Retail frontages along Hastings St will be opposite the new Farmers department store and have windows extending to ground level to meet current retailer requirements.
The top two floors will be upgraded to create open plan, high quality commercial space.
The ground floor tenancies are expected to open in April 2014.
Architect Nic Magdalinos said this project proved Napier's heritage buildings could be protected, enhanced and enjoyed by future generations.
"The ramifications of earthquake prone buildings and compliance with modern seismic performance has seen our heritage stock . . . under threat.
"Through pragmatic design and analysis, early contactor input and dedicated leadership from building owners, Napier's unique Architectural Heritage can be saved."
Focus on Retail Property Services principal Robyn Burns, who is marketing the property to prospective tenants, said the new retail space would fill a gap in the Napier CBD.
"This building has all the ingredients to become a thriving retail site: high exposure, great frontages, and realistic rentals.
"The high ceilings and retained heritage features will have significant appeal."
Discussions were being held with NZ Post and Kiwibank on their possible return to the site, said Burns.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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