Napier's seafront conference and function centre is now well on the way to getting a sharp new look along with a new name.

The change of title from what was the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre to simply the Napier Conference Centre was set to get the tick from the Napier City Council at its meeting today.

But the war memorial element will remain, with the eternal flame and plaques to be placed in what a council spokesperson described as "a more visible and meaningful setting".

A new war memorial section will be created, and will be accessible from Marine Parade, as well as a planned new central foyer.

How what is now a building site will look when it is officially reopened early next year. Image / Napier City Council
How what is now a building site will look when it is officially reopened early next year. Image / Napier City Council

A large window in the new curved wall of the centre, which will overlook the lawn and gardens, will allow for 24-hour viewing of the memorial from a path which will run behind the floral clock.

The council had consulted with the Napier and Taradale RSAs over the changes and both had given it the thumbs-up.

The start of the $5.4 million redevelopment programme had originally been planned for 2023 but had been brought forward after it was determined last year that the building required strengthening to bring it up to earthquake standards.

Strengthening work designed by Stratagroup Engineering is being installed alongside the upgrading work, which will include an extended ballroom area to increase dining capacity as well as extra space in the foyer to create a more comfortable "meet and greet" area for guests and a better entry flow to meeting rooms and an exhibition hall.

Napier-based Citrus Studio Architecture in association with Graham Weaver Architecture have designed the new exhibition hall, which will feature a gentle curve to provide pedestrian access between the centre and the Ocean Spa complex, the carparking area and the seafront Rotary Pathway.

The revamped centre is on schedule to reopen in February next year.

Bookings affected by the earlier work schedule have been moved to other venues, although some clients have told the council they would postpone their bookings until 2017 or 2018 so they could utilise the refurbished centre.