After standing empty for five years, the 117-year-old former Hawkes' Bay Today building in Hastings is to be turned into a "vibrant" new office development - inspired by projects in Auckland.
The former Hawke's Bay Today property in central Hastings has been bought by a local property company that plans to revitalise the historic site into a unique commercial precinct.
Danny Blair of Colliers International this week brokered the sale of 201-209 Queen St East, on the corner of Karamu St East, which has been vacant since 2013.
He has now been appointed by the new owners, Hansen Property Group, to lease office tenancies within the vibrant redevelopment being planned for the site.
"This is a superb opportunity to locate your business within a contemporary office environment that nods to the site's industrial heritage.
"Hansen Property Group plans to create an exciting commercial precinct that will retain some of the character of the historic site, while providing new-generation office and retail spaces with generous landscaping and car parking.
"Inspired by recent developments in Auckland and Melbourne, the owner's vision is to create something new for Hastings with an industrial, modern aesthetic using landscaping as a key design feature."
The high-profile corner site was occupied by various Hawke's Bay newspapers for more than 100 years.
The first occupant was the Hawke's Bay Tribune, which built a two-storey Edwardian office building on the corner, and a printing press next door, in 1911.
The newspaper stopped publishing after the office was damaged in the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake, and the upper floor had to be removed.
A year later, the company was bought out by the publisher of the Hawke's Bay Herald, which repaired the ground floor of the building.
The newly formed Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune continued to publish from the site until it merged with Napier's Daily Telegraph in 1999 to become Hawke's Bay Today.
Hawke's Bay Today moved to new offices nearby in 2013, and the property has sat derelict since.
"Hansen Property Group have creative plans and a lot of vision for this project, which will further rejuvenate the Hastings CBD."
No tenants had been confirmed yet, although Colliers International has been talking to a number of prospective businesses.
"With detailed design work yet to take place, this a chance to work with the owners to create your own tailor-designed tenancy in the heart of the Hastings CBD."
The Hansen Property Group's principal, Rob Hansen, said many of the buildings will be refurbished to retain their heritage value.
The buildings will have a refined industrial aesthetic with exposed timber trusses, steel windows and in-situ concrete frames.
"This will be combined with modern office environments featuring open-plan spaces and private meeting and break out areas.
"It is exciting to be part of the rejuvenation of this area of Hastings. With the work being done on the Opera House and the opening of new cafes, restaurants, bars and retail at this end of Heretaunga Street, it is a prime location for tenants."
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said she was excited by the plans, which would be a significant improvement to the quality of office facilities in Hastings.
"The plans are a good fit with the council's Hastings City Centre Vibrancy Plan which supports and encourages new office based businesses to set up and expand in the central city. This is a really positive development, which will bring more people into our central city area and create new jobs."