The long-awaited redevelopment of the Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery started today with the first stages of a three-week demolition of the former Lilliput and Planetarium building on Napier's Marine Parade.
The demolition is in preparation for construction of the HBMAG's new wing and main entrance on Tennyson St between Marine Parade and Herschell St, the current site of the former Borough Council Chambers which will be relocated as part of the $18 million project.
Safety preparations were completed yesterday with fencing in place on the Marine Parade and Herschell St sides of the building, enabling work to start just a fortnight after the contract was awarded to Hawke's Bay company Gemco Construction.
The company marks its 10th anniversary in October, and managing director Darren Diack said the contract was a fitting reward for the hard work and dedication staff have put in over the past 9 years.
Once the demolition of the building was complete, Gemco would be preparing for the relocation of the former Borough Council Chambers to a new location in Byron St.
Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott said the profile of the site would mean many people would watch its redevelopment, some with nostalgic memories of what had taken place in the buildings.
The Lilliput model village and railway was founded in 1948 by Bill Knapp, of Napier, and given to the city council in 1970. It is now located in Trainworld, in Dickens St.
The planetarium is housed at Napier Boys' High School.