Revamp for old post office

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Fresh life... An artist's impression of the revamped former Rangiora Post Office.

By SHELLEY TOPP

Rangiora’s former Post Office building is being transformed into new retail, hospitality and office space.

The historic two-storey building, which opened on September 1, 1936, is being earthquake-strengthened to 100 percent of the new building standard.

Once completed, the building will have been completely renovated to the specifications of architect Robin White, of Woodend firm RWDesign.

The new design work is expected to be completed by early June.

The Zak Properties development is being done by business partners Rob Paterson, of Rangiora, and Mark Connors, of Greymouth, who bought the building in May 2015.

“We bought it primarily for the location,” Rob said of the building, on the corner of High and Percival streets.

At this stage they plan to have three tenancies of various sizes in the 504 square metre downstairs space, for retail and/or hospitality outlets.

“The corner site, opposite Farmers, is perfect for hospitality,” Rob says.

Prime location… The building is being earthquake-strengthened.

“The tentative plan at this stage for the 200 square metre upstairs area is to create offices for two tenants or establish a communal space for more tenants who wish to lease desk space.

“The original building was one of only a small number of public buildings constructed in New Zealand during the depression era of late 1929 to 1939.

“However, the building is also notable for the two King Edward VIII insignias on the main entrance which will be retained in the new design.”

There is only one other known such royal insignia on a former New Zealand Post Office building, in Cambridge.

The insignia are rare because of Edward VIII’s short reign, from January 20, 1936, to December 11, 1936. The original Post Office building also included a telephone exchange and the postmaster’s residence upstairs.

It was built by Christchurch firm Chas S. Luney Ltd, which is still in business today, trading under the name Luneys.

A Landmarks plaque for the historic building was unveiled by the construction firm’s founder, the late Charles Luney, in his 100th year at a ceremony on July 5, 2004. It will be retained in the new design.