Former post office to flourish again

Published on 30 September 2022

The once proud building has been left to fall into a state of disrepair.

One of Palmy’s iconic city centre buildings is getting a new lease of life.

Safari Group has an unconditional contract to purchase the former post office building on the Square.

It’s a New Zealand owned and operated family business that’s been developing and operating hotels across the country for more than 2 decades.

Its plans for the site include restoring the heritage building’s former glory with an 86-room, Wyndham-branded hotel and health spa, along with retail opportunities, a conference/meeting facility, and a gym.

Group Director Damien Taylor says the company is very excited about bringing a world class hotel brand to the city centre location.

“Having had dealings with a number of heritage buildings across the country, we know what it takes to restore the post office to its former splendour, along with delivering a much needed asset that the community can be proud of.

“Palmerston North has long been on our radar and the right opportunity has presented itself.

“The hard work will continue, ensuring that key stakeholders are aligned and the consents and permits are obtained before construction starts, with a goal of the last quarter of next year.”

Acting Chief Executive Chris Dyhrberg says council staff and elected members have been working with the current and new owners to help encourage a sale to bring this important heritage building back to life.

“The former post office building is an icon in our city, and one we know is treasured by our residents. Over the past few years our residents have shared their concerns about the state of this building and our staff and some of our politicians have been working tirelessly to encourage a sale. We know our residents will be thrilled with this news and will be excited to see what Safari Group has in store.”

Chief Planning Officer David Murphy says Safari Group has taken a refreshing and positive approach to working with the council in advance of any consent work.

“Safari Group has been very respectful of the heritage values of the building and sought specialist advice early to inform its plans. That’s great to see and should provide great comfort to our residents.

“This development will play a key role in our city centre transformation and creating our vision for a city centre where people want to live, work and play any time of the day.

“We’ll be working closely with Safari Group about our work in the vicinity of the building, including our city centre streets project and our urban bus terminal work.”

Property Brokers played a key role in the sale of the iconic building.

Managing Director Guy Mordaunt says they’re incredibly proud to have been involved in such an exciting opportunity for the city.

“Safari Group is a great organisation with a proven track record of development and it is going to be awesome to watch an iconic Palmy landmark restored to its full glory. We love the Manawatū and want to see it thrive so this level of investment in the region is great to see.”

CEDA Chief Executive Jerry Shearman says this will significantly lift the region's ability to bid for and host events and conferences – something which is much needed.  

“Our central location has held us in good stead over the years as a great destination for conferences and events, and this additional accommodation capacity is very welcome.

“In the year to July 2022, Palmerston North’s occupancy rate sat at 51.5%, well above the national rate of 34.7%, while the Manawatū region (city and district combined) sat at 48.9% so as a region we’re performing consistently well, even in our current pandemic environment. This puts us in the top three regions nationally.

“We know the region and visitor industry will welcome this announcement too. The limited accommodation capacity in our region has come through strongly in our recent workshops and engagement with stakeholders in the hospitality, activities, and accommodation sectors, so to secure this will significantly unlock our region's future opportunities in the events and visitor economy space.”