Kings Arms Tav­ern sold for $7.4 mil­lion

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - AMANDA SAXTON

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’’.

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