Hast­ings CBD BD prospects ‘ex­cit­ing’

Plan hearings re­veal plenty of ideas to im­prove shop­ping, work­ing ex­pe­ri­ence

Hawke's Bay Today - - FRONT PAGE - An­drew Ash­ton an­drew.ash­ton@hbto­day.co.nz

Plans to boost the vi­brancy of Hast­ings’ city-cen­tre are gath­er­ing speed, with a host of plans to im­prove the CBD shop­ping and work­ing ex­pe­ri­ence all gain­ing mo­men­tum and sup­port.

Dur­ing Long Term Plan hearings last week, Hast­ings District Coun­cil heard a host of sub­mis­sions sup­port­ing its $4.5 mil­lion vi­brancy plan, as well as some new ideas, and Mayor San­dra Ha­zle­hurst said the coun­cil was “ex­cited” with the amount of feed­back.

“HDC is al­ready con­sid­er­ing a num­ber of dif­fer­ent projects to in­crease the city cen­tre’s vi­brancy. This in­cludes two ex­cit­ing laneway projects in the 300 west block, and in the mid­dle of the 200 west block in Here­taunga St.

“Our coun­cil has also iden­ti­fied that we want to make it eas­ier for de­vel­op­ers to pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for peo­ple to live in our city, which is a great op­por­tu­nity. We are also look­ing at ways to de­velop more green spa­ces in the city for our peo­ple to en­joy.”

Feed­back on plans to re­vamp the CBD un­der the new LTP had also been sup­port­ive.

“We have heard from some amaz­ing, pas­sion­ate peo­ple who have pre­sented some great ideas for us to con­sider.

“We were asked by sub­mit­ters to look into other op­tions, such as al­low­ing one-way ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic in the city’s pedes­trian mall.

“Coun­cil staff are meet­ing with one sub­mit­ter in the com­ing weeks to hear his views in full. Staff will then bring back those ideas for the coun­cil to con­sider. Our coun­cil is for­ward think­ing and to­tally com­mit­ted that our beau­ti­ful city is alive, loved and invit­ing to at­tract in­vest­ment.”

The mayor said it was “ev­i­dent” in Hast­ings, as in many cities, that the re­tail en­vi­ron­ment had changed over the years. “That is pri­mar­ily to do with changes in the habits of shop­pers, to us­ing ‘big box’ and on-line re­tail out­lets.

“CBDs around the world are con­stantly chang­ing due to these global trends that are al­ter­ing the way we live, work and play in our Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­tricts. To meet the chang­ing global trends, the Hast­ings District Coun­cil is fo­cused on cre­at­ing a for­ward-think­ing city cen­tre for now and the fu­ture.

“Through our plans and in part­ner­ship with our busi­ness com­mu­nity, our beau­ti­ful city will be vi­brant and con­nected, a pump­ing place for peo­ple to do busi­ness, to be en­ter­tained, to shop, to learn, to so­cialise, to live in and have fun in.”

City Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion gen­eral man­ager Susan McDade said while re­tail­ers were do­ing re­ally well, it was nec­es­sary to evolve.

“The CBD is def­i­nitely not dead or dy­ing but there are plenty of ex­am­ples of towns around the world that are. It is change or die.

“The big box is a fac­tor but one that won’t go away any time soon. The mod­ern re­tail en­vi­ron­ment is very dif­fer­ent and needs to fo­cus on the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence with omni chan­nel mar­ket­ing and peo­ple­cen­tred ac­ti­va­tions. As busi­nesses change and adapt, they will be­come more com­pet­i­tive.”

Those sen­ti­ments were borne out by the lat­est Mar­ket View re­tail spend­ing statis­tics, which showed over­all growth on a par with the na­tional level.

For the three months ended March 31, spend­ing in Hast­ings grew by 5.2 per cent com­pared to the same three months last year, with the to­tal spend in Hast­ings reach­ing $66.1 mil­lion.

The per­cent­age of lo­cals spend­ing within the district also grew, up 4.3 per cent in Hast­ings, Napier card­hold­ers con­trib­uted 17.7 per cent of turnover ($7.44 mil­lion), up 5.2 per cent on the same time last year.

The big­gest change was the con­tri­bu­tion of shop­pers from New Zealand card­hold­ers from out­side of Hawke’s Bay.

Their spend­ing added up to $4.25m, up 30 per cent on the three months to March last year.

We are also look­ing at ways to de­velop more green spa­ces in the city for our peo­ple to en­joy. Hast­ings mayor San­dra Ha­zle­hurst

Photo/ Sup­plied.

A new laneway con­cept for Hast­ings' 300 west block in the CBD.

A new laneway con­cept for Hast­ings’ 200 west block.

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