The concept design for 154-158 Queen St. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Hotel part of overall plan

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

Masterton’s Queen St could soon be home to a new greenspace, cafe, and small retail store as part of a development costing from $1.4 to 1.5 million.

Developer-owner Trevor Pearce said the land [which had formerly housed Saunders Shoes and Carter’s Linen stores] had been bought primarily to create extra car parking for the former Post Office building on the corner of Lincoln Rd and Queen St.

He intended to turn part of that building into a 22-room hotel.

“The two buildings that were there were red-stickered and obviously beyond repair so they were always going to come down,” he said.

“There will be some car parking that will be provided onsite that may or may not attach to the Post Office building but we have a contract to purchase the House of Travel building and we have leased the ground floor of that to a cafe operator.”

Pearce is working to finalise the design of the space and said it would involve using some of the outdoor space on the site for al fresco dining.

Pearce is hopeful there will be a cafe operator in place by the end of the year “but we’ll be pushing it in terms of build timeframes”.

The top of the former House of Travel building would likely house a couple of two-bedroom apartments.

“The way the housing market is, I think that’s a market that could be a little bit untouched in this town.”

While the cafe and landscaping to create a greenspace would be prioritised, another small retail tenancy could be built, set back from Queen St.

“It’ll be cubical, but it’ll have rear access, natural light to three sides, it’ll be single storey, and it’ll make that quite a nice little oasis in the middle of town.”

The plans were still subject to council approval but everything he aimed to do was fully compliant.

“I don’t think they’d see any issues with it.”

The Queen St property now. PHOTO/ELI HILL

Plans supplied to the Times-Age show that there will be space for nine carparks behind the development.

They will likely be used by occupants of the 22-room hotel conversion in the former Post Office building.

“There are 10 carparks on the old Post Office building site but I can get up to 18 car parks if I tar-sealed the whole of that old [Queen St] demolition site.

“I don’t really want to do that. I would rather create something more user friendly for the public.

“What I’ve come up with is a compromise I guess you could say in terms of what my actual needs are, but it’ll work.”

Work to strengthen the former Post Office building was expected to be completed at the end of the month.

“You’ll see a couple of other tenancies pop up on the ground floor space, which are currently vacant, very soon.

“Upstairs I’m still intending to proceed with a 22-room hotel conversion and we’re aiming to have that done by the end of 2020.”