DEAL: Paxie's Building and the empty section next door have been sold after seven years. PHOTO/DOUG LAING
By Doug Laing
An historic Napier building has sold after seven years on the market, prompting more speculation on a city retailing shift towards Marine Parade.
The single-storey, two-shop, 79-year-old Paxie's Building, is on a 920sqm section stretching from Hastings St to the Parade, and is adjacent to the Odeon Theatre and AMP building block set for redevelopment by Emerson St anchor and national chain Farmers.
The sale has been made by Property Brokers Commercial but parties are not yet discussing the site's future, although it is understood Farmers are not involved.
The Group 1 heritage-listed Paxie's Building fronting Hastings St houses Paxie's Cafe and Tudor Antiques, both run until their closure over the last five years by members of the Paxie family, business proprietors in Hawke's Bay for almost a century and occupiers of the site since before the 1931 earthquake.
The cafe, known in early years as The Zealandia, closed its doors when restaurateur Nick Paxie died in 2006, having run the shop for 34 years. The second shop, once a butchery, had been run as an antique shop by brother Arthur, who, now 79, has closed the business he started after retiring from accountancy practice in 1979.
Also understood to be included in the purchase is a four-bedroom 1950s residence behind the shops and fronting Marine Parade, and an empty section alongside the buildings, concealed from Hastings St by a street-scene mural - a prominent visage for traffic turning out of Dickens St to the south.
The property, first advertised for sale after the death of sister Effie in 2004, has been on the market for seven years and featured in at least two auctions.
It was passed-in without any bidders at $850,000 in 2004 and similarly at $750,000 last November.
The brothers, two other brothers, Effie and three other sisters grew up working in the restaurant. They are the children of Andreas and Polexeny (Andrew and Pauline) Paxie who, after the 1931 earthquake, helped rebuild the business founded after the first members of the family arrived from Greece about a century ago.
The sale of the Odeon, AMP and now the Paxie's site sparked speculation over the future of the two other buildings between the block and Albion Lane, including the six-shop Williams Building, which is a century old this year.
A survivor of the 1931 earthquake, it is the only building left in Napier with cast-iron verandah posts.
Interest also centres on the contents of Paxie's Building, including cafe tables and seating left in place by Nick Paxie, and hundreds of antiques and collectables gathered by brother Arthur. They include an old dentistry chair, while just inside the entrance of the cafe, into which the collectables had spread up to the time Arthur Paxie closed the doors last year, is the cafe's former chalk board, advertising scallops and oysters at $1.50 each.