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Cheque this out… historic ‘quake bank and luxury apartment block placed up for sale

Tags: Commercial

One of the first commercial buildings in Hastings to be rebuilt following the historic 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake has been placed on the market for sale.…. complete with a plush four-bedroom apartment.


The two-storey premises on the corner of Heretaunga Street West and Market Street was once home to the town’s Bank of New South Wales branch. The bank had been operating from the site since 1884 – including in its second incarnation after 1894 when most of Hastings’ central business district was razed to the ground by fire.

When the calamitous Hawke’s Bay earthquake struck in 1931, all the city’s banks were destroyed – apart from the wooden-built Bank of New South Wales which only suffered minor damage.

However, the bank’s Australian owners decided that in keeping with other banking institutions having their premises rebuilt after the shake, the New South Wales branch should follow suit, and so a new structure was commissioned from Wellington architecture firm Crichton, McKay and Haughton. The new bank premises opened in 1936.

Over the ensuing decades, numerous alterations were undertaken on the property – with internal upgrades and refurbishments undertaken in 1955, 1966, 1973 and 1976. Westpac – the modern re-incarnation of the Bank of New South Wales - occupied the premises until the late 1980s, when the bank relocated to another property in nearby Queen Street East.

Since then tenancies in the Heretaunga Street West building have included McIvors Butchery, Vault 129 Café, Panache Hair Design, Icehouse Bar and Grill, NZ Post, Mad Max Restaurant, Temptations Massage Parlor, Geneva Finance, East Bay Finance and clothing retailer Pagani.

Insurance company AMI currently occupies the 229 square metre ground floor level of the building, as well as an additional 89 square metres of mezzanine level commercial space.

Meanwhile, on the upper level, a 279 square metre four-bedroom/four-bathroom art deco apartment - complete with its own lift and high-stud ceilings – has been designed and built to meticulous standards. In addition to a full central heating system, the residence has its own video motion security and alarm system.

The mixed-used freehold property at 129 Heretaunga Street West is now being jointly marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Auckland and Bayleys Napier, with tenders closing at 11am on December 6. Salespeople Simon Davies and Paul Garland said the property was zoned for commercial use with allowance for a residential dwelling upstairs.

Mr Davies said AMI was currently on a six-year lease in the premises running through until 2023, generating a net rental of $60,000 per annum, with two further three-year rights of renewal. The 590 square metre property has a new build standards rating of 67 percent.

“The creation of the upstairs residence provides the opportunities for either an owner/occupier to purchase what is the most stylish apartment home in Hastings’ central business district, with a revenue-producing tenancy downstairs, or for an investor to secure two totally separate income streams from one property,” he said.

“From an investment perspective, the apartment could be let as a commercially-operated short-term tourist accommodation venue – sustained by the obvious attraction for guests of staying in one of Hawke’s Bay’s most authentic art deco properties. Under this dynamic, it’s reasonable to expect the serviced apartment could achieve a nightly rack rate of $500 – rising to $800 during peak seasons and events,” Mr Davies added.

“The building’s style is classified as Stripped Classical – with little ornamentation, but traditional vertical proportions and a balanced composition. The building rises off a granite-faced plinth at the base straight to a flat parapet which is distinguished by a small cornice.”

Mr Garland said the “trophy” building retained a high level of art deco authenticity, sitting on 356 square metres of land.

“The façade retains a seamless combination of original and added art deco features – such as the verandah with its elegant paneled which is soffit trimmed with a small step moulding, the paneled timber service door and granite plinth,” he said.

“The interior décor of the apartment has been undertaken with intense attention to detail – from the bank’s replica corporate crests etched on the floor-to-ceiling glass and chrome entrance doors, through to the plaster ceiling rose in the dining room and 1930s period light fittings throughout.”

Heretaunga Street West is Hastings’ spinal retail route – stretching 2.2 kilometres and home to a variety of food and beverage outlets, clothing retailers, household goods and services purveyors, and small professional services firms.

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