Napier is famous for its art deco buildings built following the 1931 earthquake.
But now as the Government considers tougher building standards following the Canterbury earthquakes, there's concern for the future of these buildings.
Many could be an earthquake risk under the current code.
The recommendations include strengthening or demolition of all quake-prone buildings within 15 years, compared with 28 years currently.
But Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott said some art deco building owners will simply walk away from their investment rather than upgrade to a higher building code.
Ms Arnott said Napier has more than 300 heritage buildings and some probably do not even meet the current building code.
She said the council is requiring the owners of such buildings to submit detailed engineering reports in the next few months, but if the Government toughens the code, it could be too expensive for some.