An artist’s impression of a planned retail and apartment building on the corner of Church and Queen streets in Masterton. IMAGE/SUPPLIED

PAM GRAHAM
pam.graham@age.co.nz

Goodbye derelict corner site, hello new retail space and upmarket apartments.

The Wairarapa Families Anglican Trust says the timing is right to redevelop its property on the corner of Masterton’s Church and Queen streets and believes the project will help rejuvenate the central business district at the northern end of Masterton.

The trust pulled down the two-storey property it had on the site in 2013 after the building was assessed as well under building code in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes.

The previous tenants were the AA and OPSM and a professional firm upstairs.

Trust chairwoamn May Croft said the trust took the building down with the aim of rebuilding quickly but the whole business area was quite depressed at the time and it was difficult to attract tenants.

The trust had been working behind the scenes for a considerable time and “now it does seem to be the right time”, she said.

It has released a concept design by Masterton firm Silverwood Architecture with a 250m2 retail space on the ground floor and two apartments, with three bedrooms, on the first floor.

“These apartments we wanted to be high-spec with lots of storage space and balconies on the sunny side. They all have carparks and there will be a lift.

“Desirable I would call them.”

The vacant site as it is now. PHOTO/WILLIAM HEATH

She referenced the successful redevelopment of the Chilton Buildings, on the corner of Chapel and King streets into apartments.

“I think it is quite a new thing for a provincial town,” she said.

The apartments will be rented, which will provide an income for the trust’s social work.

Croft said there was now demand for this kind of accommodation in Masterton.

Tenants had not been secured yet but there was a lot of interest.

Mayor Lyn Patterson said she was absolutely thrilled about the development.

“I think it is an exciting development and really helpful for the rejuvenation of our Masterton CBD.”

Trustee and project manager Wayne O’Styke said the trust was still working through design and costings.

“We are very pleased with the design. I think it will move it from being an eyesore, if you like, to something very positive for that end of town.

“We have been working quite hard in the background for quite a long time to come up with a concept that is a good balance between the rental and likely costs and to position it for the future,” he said.

The trust wanted to use a Wairarapa builder but likely wouldn’t appoint one until the New Year.

It had been talking to Masterton District Council about the project. It already had some consents and was talking to the council about that part of the process.