New bar to rise from land swap

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 20/09/2013
Waikiwi Tavern
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ

MOVE FOR PUB: Invercargill Licensing Trust President Alan Dennis on the site where the new Waikiwi Tavern will be built.

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The Invercargill Licensing Trust will build a new Waikiwi Tavern on North Rd after a land "swapping" agreement.

Trust general manager Greg Mulvey said a commercial swap agreement had been made with DT King Transport that owns the land around the corner from the tavern, where the the Commercial Vehicle Centre now has its premises.

"This [tavern] site will be more visible and high-profile," Mr Mulvey said.

The Commercial Vehicle Centre was planning to move to a new premises on Richardson Drive, he said.

The trust would have to wait to get access to the site but it would now start making concept plans.

Waikiwi patrons, staff and neighbours would be consulted about the plans to discuss concepts and get ideas, he said.

The goal was to start construction in the middle of next year.

"It will take a considerable amount of work . . . best-case scenario, it will be open December 2014," he said.

The current Waikiwi Tavern would remain open until the new tavern was completed.

He would not say how much the swap deal had cost, citing commercial sensitivity.

Until plans were finished he could not estimate costs. However, the trust would use the Northern Tavern rebuild as a benchmark, which cost $3.8 million, he said.

He said several jobs would be created at the new premises, where food would be an important aspect of the new bar.

Trust president Alan Dennis said the current 50-year-old tavern had outlived it usefulness and it made sense to build a premises because it would probably cost as much to repair the existing tavern.

Waikiwi Tavern manager Vicky Cole said some regulars would be sad to leave the old premises but it was an exciting time for people in the Waikiwi and Grasmere areas.

Customers and staff would be happy they could stay in the old pub until the new premises was ready, she said.

"We will probably have a big party here on the last night and move into the new pub the next day."

The trust decided several years ago to demolish all its 1960s-style taverns; The Southland, the Northern Tavern and now the Waikiwi Tavern.

The trust will also redevelop the sport's bar area of the Newfield Tavern. Based on the quantity surveyor's report, it is estimated to cost $400,000 plus GST, Mr Mulvey said.

The designer has started preparing plans so the trust can apply for building consent and the work will be put out to tender, he said. A trust meeting last night heard that work would start next month and finish next year.

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