The bar in Wellington Waterfront's long established Shed 5 is is getting a celebrity chef make-over into a ''family friendly'' restaurant.
The conversion is being done by Simon Gault's Nourish Group, which has secured another 18-year lease on the building.
Nourish Group spokesman Richard Sigley said the bar in the southern half of the building would be converted into a mid-priced family friendly restaurant not seen in the New Zealand market before.
It would not be a McDonald's or Burger King but would be designed to work in conjunction with the Shed 5 bistro.
The new restaurant would be ''a hip, casual, fun place'' and if the concept worked well it would be rolled out in other centres as well.
It would continue to cater for the corporate market as well as people who wanted to bring their families.
The overhaul would not change Shed 5's exterior look or the rustic old timber floors, walls and ceilings of the 1887-vintage wharf shed.
About $1 million would be spent on the conversion of the bar with the installation of a new smaller kitchen, new furniture and more nooks and crannies. The new layout would make it feel less cavernous, said Mr Sigley.
Work was set to start after Easter and the bar would be closed for at about six weeks. If necessary the bistro would also be closed for the duration.
Wellington Waterfront chief executive Ian Pike said they called tenders earlier this year to test the market for new and alternative uses for Shed 5.
It was the oldest building on the waterfront and Shed 5, the first private commercial operation on the waterfront, had been operating in its present configuration since 1992.
It had a heritage listing and it was important to preserve, and if possible, enhance the heritage features of the building.
Mr Sigley said that as part of the lease deal Wellington Waterfront would be replacing the roof. He was not prepared to disclose other lease terms except to say they were ''pretty favourable.''
Under its old lease it was paying more than $300,000 a year to rent the building from the council-owned company.
- The Dominion Post
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