New retail block planned

By Christine Linnell

A potential redevelopment in the Greymouth town centre is likely to see the old two-storey Public Trust building at the river end of Tainui Street demolished and replaced with brand new premises stretching almost a block.
The Greymouth Star understands that negotiations are well under way to replace it with a new property stretching from Mawhera Quay through to the former Flight Centre shop, and the BNZ bank proposes moving into the new premises.
Keith Barrow, who co-owns the Public Trust building, said the Mawhera Incorporation was in talks with them.
“They want the site so they can potentially build a brand new single level (building) right through to the old Flight Centre,” Mr Barrow said.
Nothing was finalised yet, but he said the development would probably go ahead.
“They’ve got to pay us, and we’ve got to sort the tenants out. I reckon it will happen.”
The site currently houses Shades of Jade, ABC Quicklunch and lawyer Richard Bodle’s office, but the Public Trust, National Party list MP Chris Auchinvole, the Steak Bar, former sports shop and the Tete Kura Arts and Crafts shop have all been standing empty for months due to structural issues.
Mr Barrow said the new premises would be built to 140% of seismic code and house a mix of corporate and local tenants, including the BNZ, but there were still issues to work through.
“We’re hoping it will happen for the benefit of Greymouth as well, to improve the town.”
Co-owner Mike Connors said they were still in the discussion stage and nothing had been put in writing or signed.
“Until that ever happens, there’ll be nothing happening to it.”
BNZ head of distribution Callum Gillespie declined to comment on a potential change of address, but said the bank was committed to staying in Greymouth.
“We are continually looking at opportunities to improve our services to customers.”
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn today welcomed the redevelopment, which he said had not yet been confirmed by Mawhera but looked “very promising”.
“This redevelopment will signal the first tangible signs of the renewal of the Greymouth CBD. Earthquake proofing is well advanced for a lot of buildings now, and some buildings past their use-by date, like this one, will be replaced.
“This is a good sign for confidence in the Greymouth CBD.”