The diggers are in among other activity underway at the Plaza building as the first stage of its reconstruction begins.

Photo: Work has begun on the construction of the all new Opera House Plaza.

The Plaza rebuild is taking place alongside the Hawke’s Bay Opera House Theatre and Municipal Building earthquake strengthening programme that started in 2016.

The building consent to undertake the work at the Plaza was issued earlier this month, and work has now begun to prepare the site for its new foundations.

Initially a digger has been getting rid of the existing foundations, after which construction will begin on the new structure.

On the current timeline, if there are no unforeseen delays, the foundations for a new floor are set to be poured in January next year, columns installed in February, and the roof, exterior cladding painting and glazing to be completed by the end of June.

The entire building, which will include a new roof, double glazed front wall and a new level floor, is programmed to be completed by the end of August next year.

The end result is designed to be quality, multi-purpose, acoustically-sound facility that would complement the wider precinct.

Council’s Opera House and Arts Precinct committee chairman Malcolm Dixon said that like the rest of the community he couldn’t wait for the Plaza to be completed.

“This attractive facility will be capable of seating around 500 right here in the heart of Hastings.

“With the completion of the Opera House also due by the end of 2019 it will mean that Hastings will be right back in the hospitality and entertainment forefront. Thank you everyone for your patience.”