Tauranga City Council has announced a temporary location for its customer service centre and central library as it progresses plans to redevelop the civic precinct in the city centre.
The customer service centre and central library will move to the Goddards Centre, located between Devonport Road and Grey Street in downtown Tauranga, in the first part of next year so the demolition of the current Willow Street premises can begin.
Commission Chair Anne Tolley says today’s announcement represents an exciting milestone for the future development of the civic precinct, in line with the plan outlined in the 2021-31 Long-term Plan.
“The potential for the civic precinct to contribute to a thriving and vibrant city centre has been recognised for some years and was reinforced through the recent Long-term Plan process,” she says.
“It’s great to see steps being taken to turn this vision into a reality.”
Chief Executive Marty Grenfell says a refresh of a previously developed masterplan is underway that will guide the overall development of the civic precinct over the next decade, linking it to the harbour and the wider city.
“As part of this, we are working closely with our iwi and hapū partners to ensure the mana and history of the land is respected and acknowledged throughout the process.”
Marty says the first major phase of the planned development is a facility that will, at a minimum, house a new central library and community hub. Construction is expected to commence next year and be completed in the middle of 2025.
“This is a significant step towards transforming Tauranga’s city centre into the civic, commercial, and cultural capital of the Bay of Plenty.”
Plans to repurpose the Goddards Centre as a temporary location are already underway. The design fit out is due to start in October and the joint facilities are expected to be open to the community in the first part of next year.
Chief Executive Officer and Director of PMG Funds Scott McKenzie, representing the owners of the Goddards Centre, says that this is an excellent outcome for council, the CBD, and the wider community.
“On the back of exciting developments that are underway across the city centre, such as the $200 million Farmers retail, hospitality, and apartment complex, including the associated streetscaping of Elizabeth St, and the redevelopment of 2 Devonport Road, this is another project that we are confident will support the revitalisation of our city centre.”
Mainstreet Tauranga Chair Brian Berry welcomes the announcement and the associated confidence he expects it will give the private sector.
“These steps further support Tauranga City’s progression to a regional city of national significance that can cater for the needs of a growing and diverse population.
“We expect it will be a catalyst for the private sector to invest further in the city centre, with mixed-use developments that encourage boutique retail, a greater hospitality offering, and significantly more inner-city living.”
Current design concepts for the Goddards Centre see people able to enter from both Devonport Road and Grey Street. A promenade will link both ends of the building and will contain spaces where people can sit, socialise and view displays.
Libraries Manager Joanna Thomas says the move to an interim hub creates a great opportunity to trial new ways for council services to work together.
“This is an exciting first step as council and the community reimagine together how civic services and experiences are provided in Tauranga in the future.”
Customer Services Manager Margaret Batchelar says ensuring the community can easily access council services is top of mind as plans are developed.
“While our central location is changing temporarily, we are committed to making sure the high level of service we provide is not affected.”
As part of the temporary withdrawal from current council premises, the location for regular council meetings will change from January next year.
Ordinary Council meetings will take place at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chambers on Elizabeth Street. These will continue to be livestreamed and accessible on the Tauranga City Council website.
All other regular committee meetings will take place at council’s offices at 306 Cameron Road.
Council is also working with the Regional Council to explore the future location of the bus interchange on Willow Street. Operations at the current ‘Our Place’ site will finish by the middle of February 2022