The Dalton and Vautier houses complex which have been the Napier home to a range of Government departments over more than 30 years, could become the new site of the Napier City Council.
Sources have told Hawke's Bay Today the site, owned by Napier man Mark Brown-Thomas and up for sale for well over a year, is under contract to the council pending a due diligence report on the buildings' suitability.
In a statement from council headquarters late on Friday, it was revealed the council believed there "may be an opportunity to repurpose" the buildings in the Vautier, Dalton, Station and Hastings Sts block to house council staff who have been spread across three temporary sites since the civic building and adjoining public library were vacated as earthquake risks in 2017.
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"NCC is currently undertaking full due diligence on these buildings to see if they are financially feasible, fit for purpose, and provide added benefits to the central city as a hotel, library and council chambers precinct," the statement said.
Earlier on Friday it was revealed the council will this week consider demolition of the council building, now long-proposed as a hotel site, while earlier it had been disclosed that the council was putting three public library options up for consultation, "... with a refit or rebuild on its original site at the top of the list."
The civic building, on the corner of Hastings and Station Sts, remains earmarked as a prospective hotel site, despite developers plans for another hotel on the opposite site of Hastings St, another a short distance away on Marine Parade, and current refurbishment of an office block as a hotel on the corner of Munroe and Raffles Sts.
"It's a real positive to have our main central library near it," Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said.
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"Having a quality hotel development next to a new library will revitalise this area, which has seen some decline since the council and library had to relocate due to earthquake safety concerns.
"These are huge, once in a generation decisions for Napier and we must get it right for our community," she said.
"That means considering the options carefully – and ensuring that the people of Napier are fully involved in the decision-making process."
The Vautier and Dalton houses complex, built in the 1980s about the same time as the neighbouring courthouse, has had such occupants as police Eastern District headquarters, the Ministry of Social Development's Work and Income, and Child, Youth and Family (now the separate Ministry for Children Oranga Tamariki).
The police vacated more than two years ago, with staff split across different sites pending the opening of a new headquarters and Hastings station currently under construction, while the other departments are set to be housed in a new building on a vacant site at the intersection of Tennyson St and Kennedy and Wellesley Rds.