Hastings' long-standing aspiration to have a hotel in its city centre is finally happening, as work on the Quest Apartment Hotel begins.
A derelict building on Eastbourne St East in the eastern side of Hastings will be transformed into a 34-room 4 to 4.5-star apartment style hotel specifically designed for short and extended corporate stays.
Set to open in early 2022, the first stage is the interior demolition work currently being done.
Wallace Development Company development manager Mike Walker said the building will have a small extension at the front, complete re-clad, new windows, new reception, internal seismic work and a new architectural façade.
He anticipates construction will take about 12 months.
Quest Apartments group general manager Adrian Turner said with the commercial growth happening in Hastings they saw an opportunity to develop a hotel in the city.
"Quest Hastings will be our 35th purpose-built property and by the time we open, it will be the 40th."
Quest franchisees Scott and Sonia Bellingham have made the decision to move from Wellington to Hastings for the hotel.
Scott has been with Quest since 2002 and spent time in Hawke's Bay during childhood holidays.
When the opportunity arose to make the move, "the first thing I thought about is the vineyards", he said.
"When they mentioned the location, I came and had a look and thought 'yeah this is it', close to a revitalised precinct, cafes and lawyer's office and government.
"I think it will fit in quite nicely with its size."
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the hotel is the "missing part of the puzzle" for the Toitoi – Hawke's Bay Arts and Events Centre and conferencing is already being planned for 2022 when the hotel will open.
"It's going to be a game changer actually and with the whole revitalisation of the city, particularly the east side ... these guests will feed into our city, they will bring the life, the vibrancy and support all our businesses in the city."
The city has wanted a central-city hotel for many years and Hazlehurst remembers when she was the president of the business association more than 10 years ago, they were working to get a hotel alongside the Opera House.
"The old power board building has been vacant and derelict for many, many years and so to have this building repurposed ... this is just what we need."