Sign of the Takahe lease surrendered
After almost seven years and a $2.8 million repair, the historic Sign of Takahe is still closed to the public and will remain that way throughout the summer.
The Christchurch City Council plans to ask the public in the new year to put forward proposals to lease the building, after the previous leaseholders relinquished the lease on August 23.
The proposals would have to be sympathetic to the heritage values of the building, a council spokeswoman said.
Christchurch businessmen Mark Bouvet and Richard Freeman operated a restaurant, bar, wedding and function venue from the Heritage New Zealand-listed building before the 2011 earthquakes.
The lease was not due to expire until 2020, but the pair relinquished the lease after trying to sell it on Trade Me.
Bouvet confirmed the lease had been surrendered back to the council but did not answer questions about why he and Freeman decided to relinquish it, or if they had to pay any penalty to the council to do so.
Council corporate services general manager Anne Columbus said the parties came to ‘‘an agreement on the surrender of the lease on mutually beneficial terms’’.
She would not answer questions about whether any money changed hands when the lease was surrendered or whether the council asked Bouvet and Freeman to give up the lease.
In May, the council said it was working with the existing leaseholders to ‘‘facilitate the reoperating of the premises’’.
The Cashmere building has been closed since it was damaged in the 2011 earthquakes. The repairs were completed in May this year.
Cashmere ward councillor Tim Scandrett said he wanted more community involvement with the building, especially since the city did not have many historic buildings left of that calibre.
‘‘I’d like to see the community using it as a local watering hole.’’
He said he, like most people, would have liked the building to reopen to the public much sooner than it would be.
Freeman caused controversy in 2010 when he vowed to ‘‘nail’’ cyclists with his Hummer.
The historic Sign of the Takahe is fully repaired but closed to the public.