The Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki are one step closer to finding a new home in Hawke's Bay with an application put forward for a new site in Napier.
Murphy Property Developments Ltd put an application to Napier City Council on August 7 to build the two-storey office building which is planned for a site on the corner of Tennyson St and Wellesley Rd, within the fringe of the city's commercial zone.
The ministry's East Coast Regional Commissioner, Annie Aranui, confirmed it entered into a development agreement and agreement to lease for 245/247 Tennyson St.
The development site encompasses five existing properties, including a hairdresser, three dwellings and a car yard, all of which have been cleared.
Aranui said those at the ministry are excited about the project but still have a lot of work to do. "We're excited about this project ahead, as the new site will provide better cohesion and make it easier for families to seek help and engage with us, and others," she said.
"We are still working through the impact of the move on our clients, the surrounding neighbourhood and the wider community."
The ministry, which plans to move from its office in Vautier House, expects the new building to be completed by mid-2021 ready to move in.
The new site will accommodate about 250 staff from several government agencies, including MSD and Oranga Tamariki, and will also include a Work and Income service centre.
The basement carpark will have space for 52 vehicles and there will be ground-level space for between seven and nine vehicles.
According to designs the building will be 10.5m tall and will occupy 1720sq m of the 2151sq m site.
The plans look set to move ahead smoothly, with the application stating the proposal was consistent with the district plan and was not expected to give rise to any visual amenity issues. The effects of the proposal were considered to be less than minor.
The council's team leader of resource consents, Paul O'Shaughnessy, confirmed the application was being assessed by staff "in terms of its response to traffic safety, district plan, urban design and servicing issues".