Setback for market plan

The former Holmes Garage building and site in Mahoe Street which the community board and business chamber want converted for markets. Photo: Jeremy Smith.

A feasibility study on converting the former Holmes Garage site in Te Awamutu into a community market says the $650,000 it would cost “appears prohibitive”.

There would be no real return from the market to help with financing the project which has been championed by the Te Awamutu and Kihikihi Community Board and the Te Awamutu Business Chamber, the Beca study finds.

The report was considered by Waipā District Council’s Finance and Corporate committee after The News went to press.

The council-owned properties at 74 and 90 Mahoe Street, previously home to Holmes Garage, were the proposed site for Te Ara Wai Museum before the council bought the former Bunnings Building.

Earlier this year the community board recommended the finance committee should consider the building as a venue for indoor markets and covered community events.

Chamber chief executive Shane Walsh supplied costings which suggested the cost would be about $400,000.

The council commissioned a $25,000 report from Beca Group consultancy while the community board sourced its own feasibility study which incorporated “substantial changes” to the original proposal taking costs up to $550,000.

Property Projects specialist Andrew Don said the board’s study allowed for the removal of the front section of the building and a new steel portal framed structure in its place.

“While subjective, staff believe a further $100,000 plus GST should be provided for the unbudgeted works noting it would be imprudent to analyse the costs without allowing for potentially significant items such as a canopy, drainage, fencing, landscaping and feature ceilings,” said Don.

The board’s feasibility study was done by Bretton Group, a company owned by the council’s former Business Development manager Steve Tritt.

In her report, Beca’s Annette Jones, an expert in urban design, said her preferred outcome was to demolish the building and create an open community link between Selwyn Park and Market Street.

The cost of demolishing the building is about $50,000.

Don said council staff supported Jones’ findings and he recommended removing the building and providing an open sealed surface – costing another $50,000 – which could be considered as stage one for redeveloping the area.

Servicing that $100,000 through a loan would cost about $7600 a year.

“The feasibility study defines the objective of this proposal as being to provide a low cost community lease space in the CBD available for creative and cultural events, music and performance, markets and displays, exhibitions and shows and for commercial hire.

“While the location may be ideal to meet the above objectives, the cost of providing the building appears prohibitive given there is no budget and no real return to assist with financing the proposed project,” he said.

•        The News will file an updated report online and in next week’s edition.


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