Developers planning new lease of life for Spanish Mission landmark

Friday 1 July 2011, 3:17PM
By Napier City Council


New owners are planning to reinvigorate a heritage gem while providing another much-wanted walkway between downtown Napier and Marine Parade.

A resource consent application has been lodged with the Napier City Council to redevelop the Paxie’s site, two adjoining titles that combine to straddle Marine Parade and Hastings Street. Paris Magdalinos Architects’ design scheme is aimed at preserving essential elements of the heritage building.

Up until recently, Paxie’s operated as a teashop/restaurant/café under the ownership of the Paxies – originally the Paxinou family from Greece – since the building’s construction in 1932, a year after Napier’s Central Business District was levelled by earthquake. In later years, Tudor Antiques was encompassed in the building frontage, and it too was run by the Paxie family.

Paxie’s Building was designed by Finch & Westerholm, one of the local practices in Associated Architects. This collective, established after the 1931 ‘quake, redesigned Napier’s devastated retail and commercial heart. Most of Finch & Westerholm’s downtown buildings were inspired by the Spanish Mission style which was very much in vogue at that time.

The resource consent application is likely to be processed on a non-notified basis and is for four ground-level retail stores opening onto a walkway connecting Hastings Street and Marine Parade. At this stage, the pedestrian way will be privately owned.

The new section of building behind Paxie’s will step up the site to provide an upper-level commercial /office tenancy on Marine Parade, and there will also be an underground parking for five vehicles.

Napier’s Art Deco Trust and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust have signed off on the plans for the redevelopment project. Paxie’s has a Category 2 Historic Places Trust listing and the building is a Group 1 heritage item in the Napier City District Plan.