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Eleventh-hour proposal

David Borman’s proposed civic centre plans. IMAGE/SUPPLIED

Developer’s plan for town hall could save Masterton millions of dollars
Late overhaul in the mix

Story by Soumya Bhamidipati

New civic centre plans have been put to Masterton councillors at the eleventh hour by a commercial property developer – a week after submissions were heard on the long-term plan.

In an email, sent to Masterton councillors on Tuesday afternoon, and obtained by the Times-Age on Wednesday morning, commercial property developer David Borman said he had been working with a group of business owners for the past few months to discuss how the proposed civic centre could be used to promote growth and entice businesses to the area.

“I was asked if I could take the plans I did three years ago of a proposed new town hall to a meeting,” Borman said in the email.

“They were a bit out-of-date and needed upgrading.”

He approached DJ Silverwood Architects to work on updating the plans.

“I asked them to alter my plans. This was yesterday,” Tuesday’s email read, “They finished these at 1am this morning.”

Borman described the plan as a “mixture of old and modern”.

Drawings of David Borman’s proposed civic centre plans. IMAGE/SUPPLIED

It would have the existing town hall building removed, but the municipal building and town hall facade retained.

The plan included an 800-seat auditorium with 500 seats on the ground floor and 300 in the gallery, a multi-purpose hall with removable seats, a commercial kitchen, and a foyer fitting 150 people.

Featuring a glass exterior, an event space fit for 400 people was also in the proposed plan.

The space could be split into two through fold-away doors.

“I have reduced the width of Perry St, moved the old folk’s hall and installed car parks,” the email read.

“In the future, you could purchase the rifle range building and their car park for more parking.”

Borman estimated the building costs and fees to be about $13.5 million.

An additional $1.5m was allowed for car parks, demolition, and contingency costs, making the total cost about $15m.

The latest figures from the council estimated a cost of just over $30m for its preferred plans for a civic facility.

These plans included meeting rooms, a flexi-form “black box” theatre with capacity to seat 500 people, a new library and archives, an information hub, and a pre-function space that doubled as an exhibition space.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said the council was required to go through a process when consulting on a long-term plan, which included civic facility discussions – and this had begun in early April.

Borman’s latest civic facility plan was not submitted to the 2021-2031 long-term plan, however 14 submissions supported Borman’s previous proposal.

“Submissions on the draft long-term plan closed on May 3,” Patterson said.

“Hearings took place last week, and the council will make its decisions next week at deliberations meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

“It is therefore inappropriate for the council to comment on Mr Borman’s proposal at this time.

“The deliberations meetings will be public, with reports online by Monday.”

Borman did not respond to requests for comment, including why the proposal had been submitted at this point of the long-term plan process, and whether the plan met all the objectives and requirements set out by the council for its new facility.

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