The building blocks of a new cafe in Castlecliff are starting to come together but they may also form the foundation of a revitalised community.
The Citadel will open on Rangiora St in November and the group behind it is philosophical about what it can do for the suburb and Whanganui.
Jamie and Ellen Waugh bought the building a couple of years ago and have since been instrumental in the Castlecliff Rejuvenation Project.
The Citadel is seen as an anchor project and a place to bring the community together.
"It all kind of ties in with each other," Jamie said. "From a rejuvenation perspective you can do as much making the street pretty as you want but if you can't build a functional community, what good is a really nice street if you don't know the person walking down it.
"If everything keeps on working I think it will be one of a range of things you can come out here. This is the one that can happen now."
Charlotte Melser will run The Citadel, a foray into business after spending her whole working life in hospitality, most recently at Mischief on Guyton.
"The community is diversifying and I guess what we are trying to create here is a community hub that everyone can be a part of but it can also be potentially a platform for other creative endevours and projects as well," she said.
She will be supported by Jack Mitchell-Anyon who ran music venue Space Monster until last year and has recently set up cafe, gallery and store, Article.
"A a lot of people say 'this is what Castlecliff needs, we've been waiting for this to happen'," he said.
"You hear people say 'oh, they're opening a cafe, that'll never work'. But once you get one person that starts and makes it work, I see it removing some of that cynicism and encouraging people to do what maybe they've dreamt of doing."
Building work is well underway and the plan for The Citadel is to offer breakfast and brunch and coffee before moving to burgers and craft beer in the afternoons and evening with music in an indoor and outdoor space.
"People can be passive bystanders and moan about the way their suburb is but the beauty we've got in Whanganui is the ability to actually change it yourself."
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But also a place for people to meet, something Jamie said the suburb was in need of.
"If they don't bump into the right people, they might move away or might not use their abilities for the best of the community.
"They can move here now and come to a place where they meet all the other locals and get that sense of community."
Jamie said he was stoked to have Charlotte and Jack at the helm to the new venture.
"They understand hospitality. They've got vision," he said.
"And Jack's basically the walking example of that with Space Monster and Article as well. If there was inspiration for this happening, it's what Jack's done in terms of making it work."
He hopes the cafe will show an alternative to provincial decline, something he's come to realise through his work with the rejuvenation project.
"People can be passive bystanders and moan about the way their suburb is but the beauty we've got in Whanganui is the ability to actually change it yourself," he said.
"I think we're at the vanguard of what places like Whanganui could become. People say it could become a zombie town but I think there's another way and I think it's extremely exciting what it could become."
*More information and updates will be posted on The Citadel's Facebook page.