Designed by Ernest Larcomb, it was built in 1922 for the Waldegrave family after its predecessor burnt down. It contained two shops and first floor space for other businesses. They gave it the name ‘Union Building’, which remained its identity until at least 1960. The name probably relates to the Union Bank that once operated on the opposite side of Coleman Place.
A variety of retailers have occupied the upper floor of the Union Building, several of them being linked to the clothing industry while a ‘school of dressmaking’ was based there in the 1930s. In the mid-1980s it housed a billiard saloon. From 1986 to the present, the upper floor has been occupied by hair dressing and beauty salon, Studio 31, and its predecessor, the Golden Tan Solarium Ltd. The shop nearest Rangitikei Street was a book shop for some 80 years, while the other shop’s occupancy has ranged from furrier, through garden centre to a coffee bar.