Let’s have din­ner...in the toi­let?

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - JOSH FA­GAN

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.’’

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