Bicycle Thief may be spared

Decision on bar's future to be known this month

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 14:07 04/10/2012
Bicycle Thief
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
RICHARD MIDDLETON: "If they say we can stay I'll push like hell to get it open."

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A stay of execution may be on the cards for a central Christchurch bar.

The Bicycle Thief, on the western side of Latimer Square, feared that its days were numbered because it was within the eastern frame of the new central business district, but talks with the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) have given owner Richard Middleton cause for hope.

Middleton said CCDU staff had told him they had done additional work on the design for the eastern frame since unveiling the concept in late July, and the bar could be spared.

''While this is by no means certain, it certainly gives us some hope,'' said Middleton, who expects to get an answer on the future of his business this month.

The Bicycle Thief has been closed since the February 2011 quake, but Middleton planned to reopen next March.

He said yesterday that he could still meet that deadline should the CCDU decide the building could stay as he still had a project team working on plans for renovating the bar and creating a courtyard area.

''If they say we can stay I'll push like hell to get it open,'' Middleton said.

The worst-case scenario was that the CCDU would acquire the site, demolish the building and ''replace it with a tree''.

''It would be a great crying shame to see it ripped up,'' he said.

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