Kings Arms Tavern sold for $7.4 million
Auckland’s Kings Arms Tavern - a reliable refuge for music fans for many years - has been sold for $7.4 million.
The sale means the property is unlikely to continue as a music venue - although there is hope for music fans for some months yet.
Owner Maureen Gordon said she put the 19th century pub on the market in September, when council rate increases became unsustainable.
‘‘I put it out there to see what would happen - and the enquires and interest we had were all from developers,’’ she said.
‘‘There wasn’t a single person who looked at trying to keep the music side of things going.’’
The 2112 square metre property is at 57-59 France St, Newton in central Auckland - it is zoned as mixed use, meaning it could be redeveloped for residential or commercial purposes.
Gordon, who is ‘‘over 80’’ and more a fan of symphony orchestra than the head-banging music the Kings Arms was beloved for, said that the sale was a sign of the times.
The city’s insatiable need for housing space and her property’s soaring overheads, as well as a spell of poor health for Gordon, meant ‘‘the time was right’’, she said.
‘‘I do feel very sad about the sale though - it’s been a lifestyle for my family - and for the young music goers of Auckland.’’
Gordon urged the city’s harder-core musos not to panic about being left bereft of their best venue just yet: ’’We will be there for about 16 months more ... and the place rolls on just the same until then.’’
That was her current deal with the buyers, she said, but added that she ‘‘might accommodate them’’ if they changed their minds and wanted to move in earlier.
As a venue, the Kings Arms has played host to major international acts including the White Stripes and The Black Keys, and also helped launch the careers of many Kiwi musicians.
Neill Fraser, of Auckland rock band Villainy, said the Kings Arms would leave a huge hole in the city’s cultural landscape.
A petition to save the tavern from being ‘‘demolished and turned into apartments by 2019’’ has more than 6400 supporters and a slew of comments - indignant, nostalgic, and impassioned - from King’s Arms devotees around the country.
But Gordon said ‘‘it will be a development site and there’s no way around it’’.