Palmerston North

PHOTO: Palmerston North. FILE

The owner of the former Palmerston North pub, The Fitz, remains receptive to discussions with potential collaborators interested in co-developing the property. Situated at 320-326 Ferguson Street, the building and land are under the ownership of Millennium and Copthorne Hotels New Zealand. Ken Orr, the company’s Operations Vice President, noted their ongoing efforts to optimize land utilization around the Copthorne Hotel Palmerston North over several years.

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Various proposals, including new conferencing facilities, commercial offices, and retail/quick-service restaurant options, have been considered. However, no definitive plan has yet emerged that aligns seamlessly with the hotel’s objectives. Nevertheless, Orr emphasized their openness to engage with interested parties for joint development endeavors. Once a development partnership is established, the next step would involve seeking necessary consents to proceed.

The once-popular pub, which closed its doors in 2008, has seen noticeable deterioration, especially following recent street improvements along Ferguson Street. While Super Liquor occupies one end of the building on Linton Street, Wilson Parking manages a paid carpark at the Fitzherbert Ave end. The deteriorating state of the unoccupied section is evident with boarded-up doors and windows, graffiti, and neglected landscaping.

The former home of The Fitz in Palmerston North. The Copthorne Hotel can be seen in the background. Photo / Judith LacyThe former home of The Fitz in Palmerston North. The Copthorne Hotel can be seen in the background. Photo / Judith Lacy

Despite attempts to reach Orr for comments on maintenance plans, no response was received. Concerns over the property’s upkeep have been raised by Palmerston North city councillor Mark Arnott, reflecting broader sentiments about the decline of CBD commercial properties. Arnott advocates for a property maintenance bylaw to hold owners accountable, suggesting penalties and mechanisms for enforcement.

Meanwhile, Millennium and Copthorne Hotels are undertaking upgrades to the facade of their Palmerston North hotel, including the installation of new double-glazed windows and air-conditioning. This refurbishment initiative aims to enhance the hotel’s appearance and comfort, with completion expected over the next five months.