K Road’s historic arcade gets some glitz
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.’’
The arcade was given a new lick of paint and the wood fittings were re-varnished.