Let’s have dinner...in the toilet?
A former public toilet block in central Auckland is being turned into a bar.
The brick building at the corner of Sturdee St and Market Place is set to be the first of five disused loos refurbished in a major makeover.
The Auckland Council-owned building, built in 1926, could open as a bar and eatery as early as mid-2017 if consents and liquor licences get the go ahead.
The transformation comes as part of the council’s toilet redevelopment master plan, following similar examples of toilet cafes and bars in Wellington, London and New York.
After more than a year of planning, the council has confirmed the Sturdee St toilet was chosen as the ‘‘most commercially viable site’’.
‘‘We’re excited about bringing back a historic heritage toilet into something usable,’’ Development Auckland director of portfolio management Ian Wheeler said.
‘‘It will probably result in quite a funky place to go that will be quite novel.’’
Wheeler said five former bogs across the city were earmarked to be reopened as businesses such as pubs, cafes, hairdressers and art galleries. He said he expected some complications revamping the historic buildings, most of which have not been used as toilets for several decades. The Sturdee St toilets would be the prototype to see how the redevelopment works.
‘‘We can enhance the urban environment, provide amenity, and preserve heritage buildings by partnering with businesses.’’
The other four toilets are on Customs St West, Wellesley St East, the Kingsland Rail Station on New North Rd and in the Sandringham Reserve on Sandringham Rd.
The developer of the Sturdee St site, Talisman Consultants Limited, also won the bid for the old toilet buildings in Wellesley Street and Customs Street. Those sites were still being reviewed, Wheeler said.
‘‘Sandringham is on hold as we discuss with the local board and community whether the use will be commercial, community, or a mix. And we are working through more technical issues with the Kingsland location.’’