Grand plans for landmark heritage hotel building


The new owners of one of Palmerston North’s most prominent heritage buildings, the former Grand Hotel on the corner of The Square, have plans to restore it to former glory.

The Category 1 heritage listed 115 year-old building, now owned by civil engineering firm, Terra Civil, having bought it from Wallace Development, was once famous for hosting royalty. It was converted into office and retail space after it closed down in 1972. Terra Civil intend to take the building back to its roots as top-tier accommodation.

The former Grand Hotel has historical significance because it hosted the first reigning monarch to visit New Zealand when Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip stayed there in 1954 during their tour of New Zealand. The Queen’s father, the Duke of York, later to become King George VI, had previously stayed at the hotel in 1927.

Terra Civil director Kaleb Fugle, says the company plans to keep retail spaces on the ground floor, with long term tenants such as Cafe Express and Dejeuner Restaurant, and build luxury apartments above. He said the company intended to spend a year or two managing the building as it is, while planning to redevelop it blending old and new with additions in an open modern style and accentuating its heritage architecture.

“This is one of the foremost heritage buildings in the city and it is important to bring it back to its former glory,” says Kaleb.

Heritage New Zealand Central Region Area Manager, Alison Dangerfield, says the former Grand Hotel is a magnificent building and a local landmark. “ It is an outstanding Category 1 historic place which we can now look forward to being once again a showcase building in The Square. Heritage New Zealand is pleased to be consulted as the development team is engaged and briefed”.

The Grand Hotel was built in 1906 and designed by architect Joseph Clarkson Maddison. It is an excellent example of the Second Empire architectural style. The style was most popular in the late 19th century and originated in France during the reconstruction of Paris by Napoleon III.

 - David Watt