K Road’s his­toric ar­cade gets some glitz

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - TOM CARNEGIE

The once sleazy Karanga­hape Road has just taken an­other step to­wards gen­tri­fi­ca­tion.

Ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tion work, cost­ing $2.5 mil­lion and tak­ing 18 months to fin­ish, was re­cently com­pleted at St Kevin’s Ar­cade on K Rd.

The work was car­ried out by the Icon Group, who pur­chased the ar­cade in mid 2015, which has a 2014 CV of $7.8m.

The Icon Group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Paul Reid said the aim was to main­tain the the unique char­ac­ter of the ar­cade while im­prov­ing the re­tail and din­ing op­tions for shop­pers.

‘‘Both the ar­cade and the street pro­vide a cen­tral-city al­ter­na­tive to the ev­ery­day main­stream brands and prod­ucts found in subur­ban malls,’’ Reid said.

Reid played the char­ac­ter Mar­shall Hey­wood on Short­land Street from 2001 to 2004. He was also a mem­ber of the pop punk band Ru­bi­con.

St Kevin’s Ar­cade was built in 1924 and is classed as a cat­e­gory B his­toric build­ing un­der Auck­land Coun­cil’s Uni­tary Plan.

Roy Ward has owned and op­er­ated the Green Dol­phin sec­ond hand book­shop in the ar­cade for the past two years.

He said the ren­o­va­tions were both taste­ful and re­spect­ful of the ar­cades her­itage.

‘‘Old brown tiles that were chipped and broken have now been re­placed. The ex­te­rior wood work has also been re-var­nished and there has been a crisp new paint job,’’ Ward said.

Ward said the big­gest change for his book­store has been in open­ing hours.

‘‘There is a restau­rant that now stays open at night, be­fore the ren­o­va­tions no stores stayed open at night.

‘‘So two nights a week we also now stay open be­cause of the ex­tra peo­ple,’’ he said.

Ward said he has en­joyed the busi­ness com­mu­nity of the ar­cade.

‘‘Open­ing a book­store can be viewed as a bit of risk in to­days so­ci­ety. But it is work­ing for us.

‘‘But we would not have done this any­where else in Auck­land. We wanted the shop to be in St Kevins,’’ Ward said.

K Road Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion head Michael Richard­son said a num­ber of events were now sched­uled for the ar­cade.

‘‘The events cre­ate a buzz and vi­brancy in the precinct and of­ten draw new peo­ple to the shop­ping ar­cade and street.’’

TOM CARNEGIE/FAIRFAX NZ

The ar­cade was given a new lick of paint and the wood fit­tings were re-var­nished.

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