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Symonds Street post office conversion

20 January 2004

Auckland City approves Symonds Street post office conversion

Auckland City’s Planning Fixtures Committee yesterday approved an application for the former Symonds Street post office to be converted to a tavern, café and offices.

The non-notified resource consent allows for public enjoyment of what is classed as a character defining building in the Grafton area. The development will house a tavern with capacity for 180 people, a café, basement wine bar, outdoor dining area and upstairs offices.

“Auckland City is pleased that this icon of the Grafton area will be enhanced to form a focal point for the area which the public can enjoy,” says Councillor Bill Christian, Acting Chairperson of the Planning Fixtures Committee.

“Council is looking to promote the retention of buildings such as this which, although not scheduled as a protected heritage place under the District Plan or by the Historic Places Trust, are an important part of the historic character of the city. It’s great to see the building being given a new lease of life, rather than being torn down to make way for an apartment building.”

The building, located at 224 Symonds Street, lies in the Grafton character overlay area, one of a number of areas around the city where Auckland City has introduced specific guidelines to help to protect the character of the area alongside continuing growth.

The application of the character overlay to selected business centres ensures that identified character and broad heritage features are retained and that ongoing development recognises and respects these qualities.

Plans for the building’s restoration include the reinstatement of glass panels in the footpath outside the building, the addition of balconies to each of the upper two levels of the north-facing side of the building and redevelopment of the former strong room on the ground floor as a wine cellar.

The coat of arms above the main entrance of the building is to be restored to its original colours, including gold leaf inscriptions. A glass canopy with halogen lights is to be installed above the entrance to provide up-lighting to highlight the presence of the coat of arms. The existing foyer will also to be enlarged to provide a more welcoming entrance. The access to the loading dock on the northern side of the building will be converted to an outdoor dining area.

ENDS

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