Grants to building owners for revamping heritage facades is about balancing private funding with public benefit, Whanganui District Council's heritage adviser says.
Scott Flutey said he had been "pretty busy" since becoming Whanganui's heritage adviser in October.
"It's about bridging the private cost with the public benefit and the grants are orientated towards the street-facing sides of buildings," Flutey said.
"We try to be very hands-on from the get-go, and work with building owners to get the best outcome from the grant.
"There's an exceptionally strong concentration of old buildings down the end of Victoria Ave but it's when you go off the main street a bit you see some of the real treasures that are mostly untouched."
One of them is the facade of Space Gallery at 18 Saint Hill St, which has just been given a new lick of paint as part of owner John Williams' plans to fully renovate the street view side of the building.
Williams, whose daughter Sarah Williams runs the gallery in the building, secured additional funding for the project through the council's heritage fund.
"When we bought the building we knew about the heritage grants from the council, and it really did help us," John Williams said.
"We took the building on for a 10-year renovation, and decided to use strictly local contractors, because Sarah gets supported by the local people, and we wanted [to] support the local tradespeople as well."
He took over ownership of the building in October last year. He said it was built in 1907-08.
"It was the head office for Dalgetys, which was a major wool and grain store, and the current entrance to Space was actually a carriageway for horses.
"Originally it had a fancy Edwardian facade with lambs' heads and all sorts on it, but then the 1930 Napier earthquake came along so they decided to strengthen the building and remove it."
Edmonds Painting undertook the project and owner Jerome Tindle said the key was doing something "that was going to last".
"The previous paint job was pretty average to be honest, with over spray everywhere and pre-existing textures still there," Tindle said.
"After we were able to remove those textures and coatings we got stuck in, and we managed to get it all done through some pretty average weather.
"The plastering boys came in and added some final details, and we're proud of how it turned out."
John Williams said the 2011 earthquake in his hometown of Christchurch destroyed most heritage buildings in the city.
"You come up to Whanganui and there is still a ton of them, maybe some are a bit dilapidated or hidden behind different pieces of metal and other things, but they're still here.
"The council has been very proactive throughout, and it's been a great partnership between public and private."
The council has been asked how much the grant paid to Space Gallery was but it is yet to respond.