INDEPENDENT NEWS

Customer Service Project Enhances Civic Precinct

Published: Mon 21 Dec 2009 12:27 PM
Customer Service Project Enhances Civic Precinct
Hastings District Council’s Customer Services project has taken a positive new direction, with Councillors agreeing to modify the project by not proceeding with a new Customer Service Centre building in favour of an alternative option.
The service centre, which will provide a one-stop-shop for customers either visiting or calling council, will now be developed within of the Civic Administration Building’s ground floor.
Mayor Lawrence Yule says after recent urban development workshops the possibilities for the Hastings CBD have become clearer and the timing of the Customer Service Project created an opportunity to strengthen the Civic Precinct.
With this in mind, Council decided to broaden the scope of the project to include commercial investment and community goals. Purchasing Heretaunga House as an extension of the council office space has fulfilled these additional objectives.
The three-storey office block, on the corner of Lyndon Rd and Warren St, is currently tenanted by a number of government and similar community agencies and has some available office space.
Council will reconfigure how departments are spread throughout the administrative building and Heretaunga House, allowing 46 staff to vacate leased accommodation at Network House, on Warren Street.
While not providing as much construction work for local industry as the new service centre would have provided, the reconfiguration of the existing administration building will be a significant project for the successful tenderer.
Mayor Yule says after planning began on the proposed new building, Heretaunga House went on the market and became an increasingly attractive prospect.
“Purchasing Heretaunga House allows council to create a more cohesive precinct that now includes the Hastings City Art Gallery, the Library, Heretaunga House and the Council building – enriching the urban fabric of the city,” Mayor Yule says.
“While not bringing everyone under one roof, moving some staff into the neighbouring Heretaunga House will further link Council’s Administration building to the Civic Precinct and still create the desired efficiencies and improvements to customer service.”
“Not only that, this proposal makes sound financial sense. The Heretaunga House purchase is a better fiscal option than the new building originally proposed and will provide on-going rental streams to Council.”
The current flat real estate market enabled the Council to purchase the property at $4.85 million, considerably lower than the rateable value of $7.6 million and an assessed replacement value of $16 million.
While the building is considerably larger than the Council’s needs, it comes with a number of existing tenants and provides flexibility to manage changing circumstances. It will also provide some opportunities for community support organisations.
ENDS

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