Exterior perspective of the new Hawke’s Bay Opera Plaza building. Image: Matthews & Matthews Architects Ltd

Work on the construction of the new fully enclosed Plaza building is set to start before Christmas with the final design now completed and all consents close to being granted.

The Plaza was closed in December last year in preparation for the rebuild taking place alongside the Hawke’s Bay Opera House Theatre earthquake strengthening programme.

Work on the Plaza, however, was then delayed with council requesting further investigations into the roof design and options around limiting internal guttering.

Group manager community facilities and programmes Alison Banks said that councillors were determined to ensure the rebuild would ensure a quality, multi-purpose, acoustically-sound facility that would complement the wider precinct.

The new design for the Plaza will create a dynamic, contemporary, versatile space that can be used all year round, in all weathers, with the replacement of the canvas cover roof with a new permanent roof.

The changes resulted from feedback gathered through a consultation process held in 2016, after which the Hastings District Council approved plans to replace the roof, as well as reconfigure the recessed floor to make it level, and replace the glass front wall with one that’s double-glazed.

In February this year the eight etched glass panels along the front of the building, created by artist Campbell Gordon and sponsored by supporters of the project, were removed and stored away for reinstatement within the Opera House precinct.

This is another milestone for the entire Opera House precinct earthquake strengthening and refurbishment project that started in 2016.

Council’s Opera House and arts precinct committee chairman Malcolm Dixon said the committee and other councillors were determined to leave no stone unturned to ensure they got this right.

“The Plaza has huge potential and now has the capacity and the design to meet the needs of everyone out there looking for a high quality venue.  We can’t wait for it to be re-opened this time next year.”

ENDS