Old Municipal Building (Town Hall) restoration

  • Project typeRestoration work
  • Project value$7.4 million
  • Project scheduleWork started in July 2023
  • Contractor nameARCO Group
Inside view of construction in the Old municipal building.

The Old Municipal Building (Town Hall) has been covered in scaffolding and a temporary weather-proof roof since an electrical fire caused millions of dollars of damage on 19 October 2019. 

Council agreed in its meeting on 27 April 2023 that the Old Town Hall building will be restored. Work will start once the building consent has been issued and the elected members have approved the contract award in May 2023.

Work to restore the building started in July 2023 and should be completed in 18 months, with the view to the building opening to the public in early 2025. 

Repair work

The repair and upgrade work includes:

  • full reinstatement of all fire damaged areas
  • replacement of entire roof
  • seismic strengthening
  • redesign of the office space layout to make it more user friendly, improve accessibility, and to provide a more communal meeting space
  • installation of a new lift to allow better access to the upper levels of the building

Throughout the process, Heritage NZ have been consulted and engaged to ensure the heritage 'feel and fabric' of the building remains.

This has been made more complex by finding cost efficient solutions to satisfy the Building Code requirements, particularly in regard to fire safety, retaining the heritage features of the building at the same time and keeping constructability in mind which is complex and challenging.

What to expect during the repair work

Car parking

A crane will operate from the car park between the building and the medical centre during the first part of the work.

Fencing will go in around the crane and several car parks behind the building.  From time to time the entire car park may need to be closed for 1 to 2 hours.


Deliveries will be made in the early mornings from 6:00am to 7:00am to reduce disruptions to surrounding businesses and traffic


During the first six months, drilling may cause vibrations that may be felt in buildings nearby. 

Delays in restoration

The insurance payment took 18 months to process and finalise. This delayed the design and development of the repair plans significantly.

In June 2021, Councillors approved to restore the building. Since then, staff have been investigating the damage further, designing solutions, and have submitted building consent and resource consent applications.

In the meantime, inflation (plus more discoveries about the extent of work needed on a 120-year-old building) have pushed the total costs for restoration up to $7.4 million. We are also investigating other non-council sources of funding.


71 Bank Street, Whangārei 0110  View Map

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