Fu­ture in ques­tion for Auck­land venue

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JOSH FA­GAN

Auck­land mu­sic venue the Kings Arms Tav­ern looks set to fall vic­tim to the city’s ram­pant push for prop­erty de­vel­op­ments.

The 19th cen­tury pub that has played host to ma­jor in­ter­na­tional acts such as the White Stripes and The Black Keys, and helped launch the ca­reers of many Kiwi acts, could make way for apart­ments af­ter be­ing listed for sale un­der a mixed use prop­erty zone.

The sale was ad­ver­tised on Satur­day fol­low­ing months of spec­u­la­tion it would be re­de­vel­oped.

Owner and pub­li­can of 25 years Mau­reen Gordon said it wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily the death knell for the venue, with a slim chance the new buyer may keep it open and build on the sur­round­ing land.

She said the busi­ness re­al­ity meant they had to make the tough de­ci­sion of sell­ing up.

‘‘I feel very sad about it,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re very re­luc­tant to walk way from the mu­sic scene but over­heads and ex­penses are pretty high. Rates and all those things come into it. And it‘s very valu­able land that’s sit­ting there.’’

The build­ing and land cov­ers 2112 square me­tres at 57 – 59 France St in the in­ner sub­urb of New­ton.

It’s been zoned as a mixed use, mean­ing it could be re­de­vel­oped for res­i­den­tial or com­mer­cial pur­poses.

Spec­u­la­tion in March this year that the venue would be de­mol­ished for apart­ments prompted a ma­jor back­lash from mu­sic lovers with 6000 peo­ple sign­ing a pe­ti­tion to try and keep it open.

Neill Fraser, of Auck­land rock band Vil­lainy, said it would leave a huge hole in the city’s cul­tural land­scape if it closed.

His band, which opened for AC/DC at Western Springs ear­lier this year, has played there six times and are set to play again in Oc­to­ber. ’’It’s this place where you can go and see amaz­ing in­ter­na­tional bands one night and see a band for five bucks on an­other. That’s pretty spe­cial and worth try­ing to pro­tect,’’ he said.

‘‘There aren’t many dirty rock pubs left in Auck­land.’’ Fraser was hold­ing hope it could re­main open, in the same way the St James theatre was saved.

‘‘St James is a re­ally good ex­am­ple of a venue which was al­most lost but we man­aged to bring back.’’

FAIRFAX NZ

Don McGlashan, right, has per­formed at the Kings Arms many times over the years.

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