Napier councillors will consider the demolition of the city's old civic buildings which have been sitting, unused, since 2017, when they were found not to be earthquake-safe.

The demolition is a question of when, not if, with council having previously decided strengthening the buildings is not financially viable.

A paper going before council on December 5 recommends council approve the tendering process, with the demolition to go ahead in 2020.

The cost of demolition is expected to cost roughly $1.1 million, which would be ringfenced and recovered when a commercial decision was made on the site, either to lease or sell the space.

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Council previously decided its preferred option is to build a four-star hotel on the site and is currently in discussions with a developer.

The paper has been published days after council announced its preferred option for the library is to build on its current site, shared with the civic buildings.

It states given the preferred option, it is time for council to revisit assumptions made about the Civic precinct as a whole.

This includes whether it is financially prudent to demolish the library building at the same time as the civic buildings, noting however that no decision has been made on the future of the library buildings.

Other uses to be considered are the opportunity for transformational design of the civic precinct, building an iconic library and council chambers, revival of the south precinct economy and creating better links between the CBD fringe and centre.

According to the paper, the civic buildings and area surrounding are underutilised, and the closure of the space has forced retailers in Civic Court to close or relocate.

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Since the closure of the buildings in 2017, the council has been spread out over several sites, including a customer service centre in Dunvegan House on Hastings St.

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The library has been housed in a temporary space in the MTG.

Without chambers, council meetings have taken place at various sites, predominantly the Hawke's Bay Regional Council chambers, although some meetings have been held at the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre, and McLean Park.

When she was elected in October, Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said she considered continuing to share the regional council chambers a viable option going forward.

"Why spend millions of dollars to build a council chamber which essentially only gets used one day of the week or half a day of the week anyway, when it's working really well sharing," she said at the time.