Napier Conference Centre upgrade
Planning started: September 2015
Construction expected to commence: April 2016
Construction expected to be completed: February 2017
A newly refurbished Napier Conference Centre will provide a state-of-the-art conferencing facility for Hawke’s Bay, attracting the important conference market.
Along with an expansion to the iconic ballroom, the Marine Parade side of the centre will be given greater street presence. A new exhibition hall to provide trade exhibitor space will be built next to Ocean Spa, and the war memorial, currently inside the foyer, will be moved to a new position of prominence with views down the lawn to the Soundshell.
As part of the upgrade, the current ballroom area will be extended to increase capacity for dining, while still retaining a curved form and panoramic views across Hawke Bay. Additional space in the foyer will allow an improved meet and greet area for guests as well as a better flow between key meeting rooms and the new exhibition hall.
Napier based Citrus Studio Architecture, in association with Graham Weaver Architecture, have designed the new exhibition hall in a gentle curve to provide a new pedestrian access between the centre and the Ocean Spa complex, to the lower car-park and the beachfront Rotary Pathway.
Elements of the building have been brought closer to the street and the War Memorial will be relocated to a more visible and meaningful setting. The entry plaza will be a vibrant public space that people can enjoy whether stopping or simply walking through. It will be framed on the Port side with the black base of the exhibition hall, broken up with blue and green panels inspired by the colours of paua shells, and on the city side by the spine of the War Memorial which will be clad in hinuera stone.
The eternal flame and plaques will be housed in a new war memorial space which will be able to be entered from Marine Parade as well as the centre foyer. A large window in its new curved wall, overlooking the lawn and gardens, will allow for 24-hour viewing of the memorial from a path behind the floral clock – something which has been welcomed by both the Napier and Taradale RSAs.
The refurbishment work was brought forward after it was discovered the building required earthquake strengthening earlier this year. These strengthening works, designed by Stratagroup engineers, will be carried out at the same time as the refurbishment and expansion.
The centre remains open for business until April 2016 when work will begin. It will reopen in February 2017.
Bookings affected by the closure period have been moved to alternative local venues. Several clients have also decided to postpone their bookings to 2017 or 2018 so they can enjoy the refurbished facility.
Staff will be available during the closure period to continue to take bookings for 2017 onwards.
The work is estimated to cost approximately $5.4 million.