New Plymouth property developer Robert Angus has bought the city's much loved Andre's L'Escargot Restaurant at auction for $570,000.
The award-winning French restaurant was owned and operated by Frenchman Andre Teissonniere for 37 years until he died from cancer in June.
The business was closed and put up for sale soon after.
Mr Angus said he did not know what he would do with the Category A heritage building but any development would retain its character.
"I was concerned to see that its integrity was maintained," he said yesterday.
"I have no immediate plans but there is some flexibility around the opportunities. I will put a bit of thought into it. It could be an office suite coupled with a cafe bar."
Along with a phone bidder Mr Angus appeared to be one of three parties vying for the property. Starting at $300,000, bidding was slow to start before stalling at $475,000.
"Well I am stunned," Bayley's auctioneer Graham Cochrane said. After a six-minute break of hurried whispers and much murmuring the auction restarted at $500,00 and inched its way in smaller and smaller increments to $570,000.
Comprised of two titles, the Brougham St restaurant had a combined 2010 rateable value of $600,000.
Teissonniere established the restaurant in 1976 on the hill in Devon St East and six years later relocated to the current Brougham St site. In 1992 he purchased the adjacent building to expand the restaurant.
The sale of the building included the chattels, but not the wine, which will be sold in a single lot by tender next month.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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