Ar­cade faces un­cer­tain fu­ture

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CATHER­INE HAR­RIS AND ANUJA NADKARNI

There have been mixed re­ac­tions to news that one of Auck­land’s favourite cre­ative haunts, St Kevin’s Ar­cade, is up for sale.

Built in 1924, the ar­cade on Karanga­hape or ‘‘K-Rd’’ has long been a hang­out for mu­si­cians and quirky re­tail­ers.

It has a cat­e­gory B her­itage clas­si­fi­ca­tion but its mar­ket­ing cam­paign notes it is zoned un­der the uni­tary plan for in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion, with a height limit of 35 me­tres.

Auck­land Coun­cil’s her­itage man­ager Noel Rear­don said the zon­ing was ap­pro­pri­ate given that it was both a her­itage build­ing and in a her­itage area, and any changes needed coun­cil con­sent.

But some shop own­ers were ner­vous that the ar­cade could be po­ten­tially be de­vel­oped into a big­ger build­ing, leav­ing just the fa­cade.

St Kevin’s owner is The Icon Group run by Paul Reid. He bought the ar­cade in 2015 and plunged nearly $3 mil­lion into a sym­pa­thetic ren­o­va­tion.

Reid said the ar­cade was in a prime location but also hoped it would not change too greatly.

‘‘The long-term fu­ture cap­i­tal gain will be sub­stan­tial for the next owner but un­for­tu­nately it’s not our busi­ness model to re­tain things.

‘‘As land­lords we just en­hance them and de-risk them and move on.’’

He had tried to se­cure the ar­cade’s char­ac­ter by putting about a third of the ten­ants on long 10-year leases.

St Kevin’s has a rich his­tory dat­ing back to the Nathan fam­ily, who do­nated the land to serve as a key walk­ing link be­tween K- Rd and My­ers Park.

Dur­ing its hey­days in the 1920s to 1940s, the ar­cade was part of a thriv­ing re­tail scene, and more re­cently, it has been a mag­net for artists, mu­sic venues and book­stores.

Michelle Men­zies, who runs a shoe shop in the ar­cade, said she was sup­port­ive of Reid’s im­prove­ments and sorry to see him go.

‘‘It’s a com­mu­nity like no other up there, it’s a very unique place to eat and shop, and the re­tail­ers are just keep­ing build­ing on that.’’

But Max Wool­ridge, who is mov­ing out of St Kevin’s, thought the ar­cade’s vibe had changed.

‘‘It used to be about cre­ative peo­ple and in­de­pen­dent busi­nesses...the whole vibe is clin­i­cal now.’’

Ten­ders close on June 14.

TOM CARNEGIE/FAIR­FAX NZ

Some shop own­ers are ner­vous the ar­cade will be fur­ther de­vel­oped, leav­ing just the fa­cade.

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