Bree Street’s con­tro­ver­sial Nun­nery changes its habits

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - CARYN DOL­LEY

PROVOCA­TIVE images of women clad in scanty nuns’ habits and clutch­ing firearms or al­co­hol have made way for the slick and trendy, as the city launches its lat­est eatery and bar in fash­ion­able Bree Street.

The prop­erty was ar­guably the most con­tro­ver­sial on the pop­u­lar stretch, the sub­ject of an on­go­ing feud about whether it was be­ing run as a brothel.

Now the new trans­port- themed es­tab­lish­ment, called The Sta­tion on Bree, is far less risque.

Launched last night, the es­tab­lish­ment takes the place of the pre­vi­ous con­tro­ver­sial and cheek­ily named Nun­nery.

Four months ago the Nun­nery, op­po­site St Paul’s Angli­can Church, made news when claims sur­faced it was a brothel.

The sit­u­a­tion snow­balled with sev­eral com­pa­nies re­fus­ing to do busi­ness with the Nun­nery and the lease for the premises was then made avail­able. Even­tu­ally the Nun­nery folded.

This week The Sta­tion on Bree founder Neil Basel said he was aware of the prop­erty’s du­bi­ous his­tory.

“Hence the clean slate and com­plete change of vibe, decor, theme, style, mu­sic, food, op­er­at­ing hours and more. This is a stylish, fun and colour­ful themed venue with a des­ti­na­tion feel,” he said.

Basel said no one who had been in­volved in the Nun­nery was in­volved in The Sta­tion on Bree.

“It’s in the past. And any­one who vis­its The Sta­tion on Bree will im­me­di­ately be trans­ported to an­other place with no rec­ol­lec­tion of what was,” he said.

In a me­dia re­lease about the new ven­ture, it was re­vealed that The Sta­tion on Bree would have a theme sim­i­lar to the Lon­don Underground.

Basel said it was the first venue of its type as it would of­fer var­i­ous forms of en­ter­tain­ment in themed “sta­tions”.

“Our char­ac­ter-filled her­itage venue now of­fers a con­vinc­ing com­muter ex­pe­ri­ence across mul­ti­ple lev­els and plat­forms, from cof­fee to club vibe.

“The con­cept is hip and colour­ful and the de­sign team has en­joyed work­ing the theme through­out the venue, from train seat­ing to court­yard bus shel­ter to underground dance floor.”

In May al­le­ga­tions sur­faced on so­cial me­dia that the Nun­nery was a house of ill re­pute.At the time Kather­ine Fried­man, global mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for Ur­ban Lime Prop­erty South Africa, a com­pany spe­cial­is­ing in ur­ban regeneration and which owns sev­eral Bree Street prop­er­ties, took to Face­book say­ing she “reg­u­larly wit­nessed sin­gle men go­ing in and out at all times and fre­quently saw the work­ing girls ar­riv­ing and leav­ing”.

But Garith Nunn, who ran the Nun­nery, de­nied the claim at the time.

Four months ago he told Week­end Ar­gus he was keen on mov­ing the Nun­nery to an­other premises in the city cen­tre, and to push the bound­aries fur­ther, with provoca­tively themed drinks.

But this week a friend who an­swered his phone said Nunn did not in­tend re­launch­ing the Nun­nery and was not in­volved in the new ven­ture on the site.

Fried­man said she was re­lieved Nunn was no longer in­volved.

“We have met the own­ers, who are de­cent, com­mu­nity-minded busi­ness peo­ple,” she said.

caryn.dol­ley@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: LEON LESTRADE

A con­tro­ver­sial prop­erty on Bree Street, be­lieved to have pre­vi­ously housed a brothel, has un­der­gone a makeover and re­launched as an eatery and bar.

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