26 August 2019
Plans to open up one of the last covered stretches of the Huatoki Stream are now a step closer after the purchase of the Metro Plaza building in the city centre by NPDC.
The building on Devon Street West sits across the road from the Huatoki Plaza, which is set for a green facelift early next year, and will be part of NPDC’s strategy to continue building a sustainable and thriving city centre. The move follows the two successful forums, the CBD 2050 Forum in October last year and the CBD 2050 Summit in May, when stakeholders met to discuss the city centre’s future.
New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom says a key theme from the forums was a desire to see the city centre revamped through more spaces and places for people to enjoy.
“We’ve listened and now we’re seeing action to create a greener and more inviting central city. This project, and the plans to give the Huatoki Plaza a green makeover, are the first steps towards realising our long-term and transformational vision for our city centre,” says Mayor Holdom.
Proposals for the site will be prepared for inclusion in the draft 10-year plan for public feedback. NPDC staff will be working with tenants, including a Subway sandwich outlet at the entrance, and leases will continue until plans for the site are finalised or other lease arrangements are negotiated. It is also talking with Te Atiawa iwi and Ngāti Te Whiti hapū, who have a long history with the Huatoki Stream.
The Metro Plaza was built at 33 Devon Street West in 1936 to house McGruer’s Drapery store but has been significantly altered over the years.
Participants in the two forums highlighted themes to improve the city centre, including:
- More green spaces, such as “pocket parks”.
- A greater focus on pedestrians with more paths to get around.
- Family-friendly spaces, such as safe areas where kids can play.
- More public and shared transport options, like e-scooters.
- More consistent opening hours among retailers.
- More homes.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to begin planning for a new riverside green space that will help draw people into town,” says NPDC Customer and Regulatory Solutions Manager Katrina Brunton. “Our community have told us they want a city centre that welcomes families and puts pedestrians first, a place people want to visit and hang out.”