Future in question for Auckland venue
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.’’
Don McGlashan, right, has performed at the Kings Arms many times over the years.