Fabulous façades lift city spirits

Old and new: What a difference a paint makes.

The faces of more than 180 significant buildings in the centre of Hastings have been sympathetically restyled under the Façade Enhancement Scheme – and the result is a positive for building owners and their tenants, residents and visitors.

The scheme has been operating since 1993, put in place to help make the Hastings city centre more attractive and vibrant.

In the last two years alone the Landmarks Trust and Hastings District Council has worked with 20 building owners to transform the facades of their mostly art deco buildings.

This year two in particular were recognised at the Landmarks Awards, held last Thursday [August 31].

One of the buildings pre-dates the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, with records showing a fruiterers and a butchery were run from it in 1925 after which it became a general grocery store. Today the Heretaunga St building is home to Alexander’s Menswear.

Building owner Kerry Harford is rapt with the result and is encouraging other building owners to take up the challenge.

He bought the empty building and wanted to make the most of the high profile site to attract a good long-term tenant who would benefit from the increased exposure, and to be proud of his asset. He worked with Council’s designer and his proposed tenant Alexander’s Menswear on the colour scheme, after successfully applying for a Façade Enhancement Scheme grant.

Making the most of building frontages added to the revitalisation of the central city business area, he said. “Hastings is on the right track; it’s growing into a really attractive boutique shopping destination. Through my work in commercial real estate I have seen a real lift in vibrancy in the city, and that is down to everyone doing their bit.”

Keeping a building in good order, including the façade, was material to getting the best return from the building investment, he said. “The work that we have put into the building has increased its value by at least 20 per cent, as well as increase its return on investment. It makes good economic sense, as well as adding to the positive atmosphere in the city.”

At the awards Mr Harford was congratulated for the choice of colours and typeface. “It is particularly the upper features of the building, in the art deco style, that are prominent . . . The grant from the Façade Enhancement Scheme to the owners, the Kerry Harford Family Trust, has been well used in the choice of colours, art deco font and detailing to enhance the features in an eye-catching and smart style,” said the awards citation.

The second stand-out enhancement was to a Karamu Road building which is credited with “adding a quiet elegance to the central city”.
Built in 1937 to replace an original building lost in the 1931 earthquake, the Jubilee Building’s “richness in terms of aesthetic and its strong presence in the streetscape, merited its consideration for a Façade Enhancement grant,” said the citation.

“The chosen colours enhance the architectural features of the building, sitting it well in the streetscape which is a key route into the city.”
Acting mayor Sandra Hazlehurst presented the certificates to the building owners at the Landmark Awards. “The Façade Enhancement Scheme is about protecting the heritage value of our city, both now and for the next 100 years.

 “Initiatives such as the Façade Enhancement Scheme and our Vibrancy Plan give us ways to encourage people to make the most of their buildings to beautify our city. It is a positive for our landlords and their tenants, which flows onto our residents and visitors enjoying and staying longer in our beautiful city.”

Façade Enhancement Scheme:

Building owners in Hastings are able to apply for funding from Hastings District Council to enhance the façade of their building through the Facade Enhancement Scheme. To be eligible to apply, buildings must be located:
•    In the Hastings city centre, or
•    On key traffic routes, or
•    Within suburban commercial shopping areas
Buildings undergo a transformation with sympathetic paint work and can include the removal of unsightly features and replacing signage. The level of funding relates to the size of the façade, colour scheme and the profile and significance of the building. The average grant is $3500, with a maximum of $7000. For more detail on the scheme see: www.hastingsdc.govt.nz/facade