Property owner disappointed by firm's rejection

Offer of free premises for city Postshop declined, reports Kashka Tunstall.

An offer by a Hamilton property investor to help keep New Zealand Post in the CBD has been rejected by the state-owned enterprise.

The Hamilton Central Business Association has said it is concerned about the impact on the city of NZ Post exiting its only CBD outlet.

"This imminent closure will cause a real challenge to many inner city businesses as so much retail business is now conducted online some of our retailers were posting items several times daily during peak times," said association general manager Sandy Turner. The two nearest postshops for city businesses will be the Frankton and Hamilton East outlets.

NZ Post made the decision to close its CBD outlet after the Bryce St building it leases failed to meet updated earthquake standards.

At the time of the closure announcement earlier this year, NZ Post spokesman John Tulloch said the company had not found any "economic" alternatives in the CBD.

That prompted Hamilton property investor Tony Schramm to contact New Zealand Post head office in Wellington, offering accommodation on London Street that met the threshold requirements. One block over from the current post shop location, the property was offered for an initial 12 months free rent as an incentive to help keep the service in the city. It is a similar size to the current Bryce St post office.

NZ Post confirmed that a property was offered by Schramm with 12 months free rent but said the costs involved with relocating and perceived low foot traffic around the building made it unsuitable.

When contacted by the Waikato Times, Schramm argued that the reasons New Zealand Post provided were insufficient.

He said he was willing to subsidise some of relocation and set-up costs and found the excuse of low foot traffic weak though he accepted it wouldn't be as high.

"They said it's not really about the economics . . . it's about politics and the decision had been made that they were pulling out of the central city."

A long-time resident and investor in the city, Schramm said he made the offer after seeing a general decline in the CBD over the last 10 years.

"If we want life blood back in the heart of the city, we need to invest in it."

Schramm said he had contacted Mayor Julie Hardacker and said she was looking into the matter.

NZ Post has set a minimum threshhold of 66 per cent of the seismic building code known as new building standards (NBS) for its commercial buildings. The current minimum standards cited by the Building Act only requires 33 per cent NBS.

Waikato Times