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$15m town square vision

David Borman has big plans for Masterton’s town square space. PHOTO/MARCUS ANSELM

Borman: Build a new 900-seat civic centre, keep the town hall facade
Facade does not need to come down

MARCUS ANSELM
[email protected]

Wairarapa developer David Borman has a $15 million vision for Masterton’s town square.

Borman wrote an open letter in yesterday’s Times-Age outlining his plans for the area.

In his letter, Borman said he could deliver his vision within the budget allocated by the last council.

This includes demolishing the existing town hall part of the building, strengthening the other two buildings above building code, keeping the heritage listed facade, and erecting a new 900-seat civic centre at the back of the town square.

The civic centre could hold cultural and civic activities, stage performances, art shows, exhibits, festivals, funerals, weddings, teaching, meetings, conferences and ballroom activities, he said.

Carparks lost, would be replaced with carparks on the old town hall footprint.

“I believe a new town hall/civic centre would help to enhance the quality of life of the community especially if it is a designed building with great variety and flexibility of purpose in mind,” Borman said in the letter.

Borman strengthened the listed Times-Age building opposite the hall.

His company upgraded the historic Masonic Lodge building on Chapel St, Masterton last year and completed work on Martinborough’s Waihinga Centre.

Borman said he wants to put forward a scheme as he has been contacted daily about the plans, and there was “confusion with the council survey and options not put forward”.

“Options haven’t been looked at and their costs are out,” he said.

“My own engineers have looked at buildings and given me different alternatives.

“Because I’m fielding at least 10 calls a day from the public asking what should be done, I decided I wanted to do this statement so that it made it clear what my proposal is, and it’s an option for the council to look at.”

This comes as Masterton District Council seeks ratepayers’ ideas on the precinct’s future.

The existing premises are made up of three buildings – the auditorium, municipal offices originally built in 1915, which are attached to the facade which was built in the 1950s, and an additional office block used for civil defence.

The entire site was closed in June 2016 when parts were found to be well below the new earthquake standards for buildings.

The buildings were damaged by quakes over the years, most recently the Christchurch, Seddon and Ward quakes, and 2014’s 6.2 magnitude shock centred in Eketahuna.

The council put forward three options for public comment in its current survey.

These are: demolishing all the buildings, and not building a civic centre; demolishing and building a civic centre; and demolishing only the auditorium, strengthening the other buildings, and building a civic centre.

Only the third option recommends that the town’s hall’s facade built in the 1950s be retained.

“There’s confusion out there, on how the building is built and how the existing is put together, a lot of confusion over the facade,” Borman said.

“They say the facade has to come down with the rest of the building.

“But that’s not correct.”

MDC’s consultation on the project runs until February 7.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Dave Borman. Let’s just get on with your plan! You have a proven record in Masterton. Please MDC. Let’s just progress this without any more unnecessary expenditure on surveys and consultation

  2. Many buildings in Brooklyn, New York were rebuilt years ago . Keeping the facade but behind that completely renewed. I think it is very possible that David Borman is correct. The centre needs to be located on the same property as the town hall.
    We lose a lot of gigs to Greytown Entertainment Centre, Masterton needs such a centre, asap. Conventions would come here if the facility could handle the numbers. E. G. The Porirua centre. Time this was sorted.

  3. Dear Editor,
    I would like to put my support behind the Borman proposal, as described in the WTA this weekend 25/1/20.

    The visionary use of space, the quoted cost effectiveness, and retention of the key historical and architectural elements, convince me his proposal is on the right track, and importantly we have the specialist smarts locally to execute something fantastic for our town and the increasing numbers of people that choose to call Masterton their home.

    Engaging Borman, at the very least in early stages in any future work (eg a costed RFP round) seems like common sense. He has a proven track record, an unquestionable passion for our town, and knowledge of what it will take to ensure we get the best value for money, as well as a long term asset that we can be proud of. He states unanimously that the costs stated in the Civic Centre Survey preamble are conservative, and in the commercial reality that he works in day to day, we can do a lot better as ratepayers.

    The results for the latest Civic Centre survey will be valuable in terms of guiding councillors on what their residents want in any facility, although I do wonder how many of them like myself, (who filled it in before this WTA article), will be swayed by the at times scary numbers quoted in the survey preamble.

    I encourage our elected members of council to vote with common sense and an eye to the future for this fantastic rural city. Engage local people with local smarts in their chosen field who have a vested interest in seeing their town thrive.

    Sincerely,

    Adam

  4. Think Mr Norman has the answer regarding the Town Hall. Hope the Council act quickly and the project completed so we all can enjoy the new building

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