Hastings site to retain newspaper history

8:25 AM Wednesday August 1, 2018 Paul Charman

Newspapers were published for more than 100 years at 201-209 Queen St East, Hastings. Photo / Supplied

The former Hawke’s Bay Today property in central Hastings has been bought by a local property company with creative plans for a commercial precinct there.

The Hansen Property Group purchased the property, which has stood vacant for the past five years, in a deal brokered by Colliers International’s agent Danny Blair.

Hanson has now appointed Blair to lease office tenancies within the 3010sq m property at 201-209 Queen St East.

“A contemporary office environment is to be designed with a nod to the site’s industrial heritage,” Blair says.

“Hansen Property Group’s vision is for a commercial precinct retaining some of the character of the historic site, while providing new-generation office and retail spaces with generous landscaping and car parking.

“They’ve been inspired by recent developments in Auckland and Melbourne. This owner’s vision is to create something new for Hastings using landscaping as a key design feature.”

The high-profile site, Cnr Queen St East and Karamu St East, was occupied by Hawke’s Bay newspapers for more than 100 years.

The first was the Hawke’s Bay Tribune, a two-storey Edwardian-style office building, with a printing press next door, built in 1911.

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An artist’s impression of an office building planned for the corner site. Photo / Supplied

This newspaper ceased publishing after its premises was damaged in the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, following which an upper floor had to be removed. A year later the newspaper was purchased by the publisher of the Hawke’s Bay Herald, which repaired the ground floor.

The Herald later became the Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune, which continued to publish at the site until a merger with Napier’s Daily Telegraph in 1999, after which it became Hawke’s Bay Today.

The property has been derelict since 2013, the year Hawke’s Bay Today moved to new offices nearby.

“Hansen Property Group now has creative plans and a lot of vision for a project aimed at further rejuvenating the Hastings CBD,” says Blair. “It is early days with a tenant yet to sign up for a lease. However, Colliers is now in discussion with several interested parties.

“The beauty of getting in early is that detailed design work has to be finalised, so a prospective tenant would have the opportunity for tailor-designed premises in the heart of the Hastings CBD.

“Various office sizes will be available and there is also potential for a cafe on the site.”

The Hansen Property Group’s principal Rob Hansen says the total built area is 3549sq m, including the Edwardian corner office building, the main press hall and a four-level office built in the mid-20th Century. These will be refurbished to retain their heritage value.

“The buildings will have a refined industrial aesthetic with exposed timber trusses, steel windows and in situ concrete frames,” he says.

“This will be combined with modern offices featuring open-plan spaces and private meeting and break out areas.

“The landscaping is to be a vital element in creating an original environment that people enjoy working and interacting in.”

Hansen says the buildings will be brought up to more than 80 per cent of the new seismic standards, while environmentally sustainable design principles will be used throughout.

“It’s exciting for us to be part of the rejuvenation of this area of Hastings.

“With the work being done on the Opera House and the opening of new cafes, restaurants, bars and retail at this end of Heretaunga St, we anticipate creating a prime location for tenants.”