Fire station a hot property

By Peter de Graaf

For lease: One fire station (sorry, fire engines, hoses, firefighters etc not included). Prime location close to shops and waterfront. All ideas for future use considered.

That isn't an ad calling for leasees of the old fire station on Williams Rd, Paihia, but it could be.

Paihia Fire Brigade is due to move into a new station around the corner on Selwyn Rd this winter, so property owner Far North Holdings is calling for submissions on future use of their old premises.

Also up for lease is part of Paihia's faux-colonial Maritime Building, currently housing Hansen's Café on the ground floor plus offices and a second commercial kitchen upstairs.

Bayleys Paihia is taking expressions of interest until May 23. Manager Chester Rendell said Far North Holdings had ''an extremely open mind'' about future use of the properties, which it believed could help revitalise the town centre.

''There's no pre-conceived wish-list for the buildings so any potential leaseholder can approach the projects as virtual blank canvases. There's the old cliché about 'no such thing as a dumb idea' and that's the approach being taken with both the fire station and the waterfront café,'' he said.

The fire station is a 230sq m single-storey building on 924sq m of land with 14 car parks and potential access to a large council-owned car park. Its box-like structure would allow straightforward conversion to commercial or retail premises.

Mr Rendell suggested it could accommodate several fast food retailers such as Subway or Burger Fuel, a Monteith's or Mac's bar, professional chambers, medical centre or gourmet food retailer.

The waterfront cafe has 280sq m over two levels next to the town wharf and coach parking area. It suited a hospitality business with possible small-scale retail.

Any new use for the properties could dovetail into the town centre masterplan developed by the Focus Paihia Community Trust. The volunteer group plans an ambitious makeover for the area in front of the wharf this winter, which is currently used as a car park.

- Northern Advocate

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