Napier is set to get a massive boost to its hospitality scene as new restaurants and bars brighten up the city centre over summer.
Napier City Business Inc general manager Zoe Barnes said the CBD is poised to welcome several new hospitality venues and retail businesses to town.
"There is a lot happening over the next few months in the lead-in to summer which will add to the business confidence and general feeling of vibrancy in the town centre at the moment."
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The Central Fire Station on Tennyson St is set to get a facelift as it is transformed from a retired old fire station to a bistro restaurant.
Sam Clark and Florencia Menehem Clark have made the move from Waiheke Island to set up and run their own restaurant.
"We were sort of enticed by the property owner, who is a bit of a family friend, to come down here and to open up something in the building and that was around two years ago so it has been quite the process to get it to this point," Clark said.
He said their style of cooking is mainly based around what is locally available which helped prompt a move to Napier.
"Hawke's Bay is well known for the local produce it has and that is something we like doing is cooking with things you can get at the local market."
Along with the restaurant they also plan to open a small cake shop inside the fire station hopefully by the end of November.
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Samuel and Severine Goslin have also made the move to Napier relocating their French fine dining restaurant, Poivre et Sel, from Whitianga to Marine Parade.
The restaurant will take over the Little India site.
The family-operated restaurant wanted to move to a bigger region but also be able to have local produce readily available.
"We were finding it too quiet in Whitianga out of the peak season so decided to make the move to Napier because it is a growing, happening place and also we have easy access to locally produced fruits and vegetables as well as local wine which we can offer," Severine said.
Hawke's Bay Today understands there are three more confirmed hospitality businesses coming in the next year, also with retail arms, and several more in the pipeline.
Barnes said Napier's CBD has the potential to become the city's social place of choice.
"If Napier CBD was to follow other progressive town centres around the world - and there is no reason why it wouldn't - we will see the town centre turn more towards becoming an experience centre, meaning more hospitality, more service industry, more areas to just linger and people watch," Barnes said.
"Napier is well placed with its beautiful architecture, its proximity to the sea and its already strong boutique retail experience to further establish itself as a fantastic regional centre, which will indeed mean more and different businesses."
Barnes said the growth is a welcome sight with many places finding areas to grow outside the city's CBD.
"The CBD has also had a resurgence in commercial businesses coming back in to the area (as previous years had seen an exodus of many big commercial businesses to Ahuriri), and along with the increased inner city living and high tourist numbers, there are simply more people in town throughout the day and year, and therefore a more attractive market to cater to."
Barnes said this summer, Napier's CBD would be chocka.
"This summer we will see new business arriving, and we will see one of the busiest event summer seasons we have ever had, along with the biggest cruise season ever. So it's going to be busy."