Mass of retailers on the move

By Doug Laing

Possibly the biggest relocation of retailers in Napier in the 82 years since the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake will be completed by the end of this week as work starts on demolishing one of the biggest and oldest buildings in the Napier CBD.

The Commercial Building, original the Caledonian Hotel, built in 1908 and a survivor of the earthquake, housed street-front shops and several upstairs residential tenants.

All are moving to make way for a new split-level retail complex replacing the three-story concrete building on a 940sq m property on the corner of Hastings and Dickens Sts.

Fronting mainly Hastings St, it's across the road from the site of the post-earthquake former Paxie's building, demolished last year, and the Williams Building, built in 1911 and due to be demolished later this year.

Paxie's is being replaced by a shopping lane from Hastings St to Marine Parade and adjoining the new Farmers, set to open soon after a major construction project on the sites of the former Odeon Theatre, Callinicos Building and AMP Building.

Heritage-protected frontages of the theatre, the Callinicos Building and Paxie's are being incorporated in the developments, but the Commercial and Williams buildings are being completely replaced.

For some, the moves are temporary, with photographic corner-site store Deco City Printz and Japanese gifts and trinkets shop Raku relocating to shops in the Williams Building.

The photo store, moving this week to a shop vacated last year by Olive Branch Bread Co when it relocated to Austin St, Onekawa, because of the pending Williams Building demolition, will eventually re-establish in premises fronting a carpark a short distance away between Dickens and Emerson Sts.

Raku, which shifted last week, expects to eventually relocate to one of the four shops in the Paxie's Lane development.

Sister hairdressing operations Fringe Benefits and Cut Off Point have moved from Hastings St to Revive in the Marewa Village Shopping, hoping to move back to Hastings St in the development on the Commercial Building site.

The Man Cave, which in the meantime will operate just from its Taupo site, has an option also to be part of the new complex.

Shoe repair specialists Sole Savers are moving to a Dundas House shop in the Station St entrance to Civic Court, and women's shop Green Revolution, open about 15 months, is moving to a surviving Hastings St building, between the Williams Building and the Paxie's site.

Emily's has moved from Hastings St to Ocean Boulevard, the Body Care shop on Dickens St has moved to Shakespeare Rd, and the future of merino wool shop Soma in Napier was unclear.

The Commercial Building is expected to be demolished through February and March and Westpoint Plaza Partnership hopes to have the replacement building open with at least five shops by August.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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