A focus on family

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Invercargill Licensing Trust president Alan Dennis (left) and chief executive Chris Ramsay look over plans for the refurbishment of The Homestead in Avenal. Photo: Petrina Wright

IT is out with Cobb & Co and in with a new family-focused dining experience as The Homestead Avenal undergoes an extensive $2 million refurbishment.

The Invercargill Licensing Trust (ILT) closed The Homestead complex, which included the Cobb & Co restaurant, Whitty’s Bar and the Brewer’s Elbow Bar, in June so work could begin on a complete refurbishment of the venue.

ILT chief executive Chris Ramsay said the restaurant would no longer be a Cobb & Co franchise, but it would continue to have a focus on family dining.

ILT president Alan Dennis said creating a restaurant suitable for families to enjoy was one of the main goals of the project.

The board was aware there were not many restaurants in Invercargill suitable to take children to, so it wanted to offer another option for families, he said.

An artist’s impression of indoor playground equipment planned for the new-look Homestead. Image supplied

To achieve this, a large dedicated children’s play area would be incorporated into the development. It would include indoor play apparatus with slides and tunnels for young children and gaming consoles for older children.

Mr Ramsay said the goal was to create the best indoor playground in Invercargill.

“We are confident when we say it is the biggest and best play area we can create.”

The internal layout of the restaurant would be changed to incorporate what was Whitty’s Bar.

The space would have the capacity to be sectioned off to create a function area for up to about 50 guests, he said.

“We have tried to make it as flexible a space as possible to make it multi-use.”

A north-facing covered outdoor area would be another new feature of the development.

Although the entire property was undergoing a major change, the miniature train which ran around the restaurant would be retained.

“It’s been such an iconic part of the business for so long, absolutely it will be part of its future as well.”

Mr Dennis said as the complex would be closed for five months while the refurbishment took place, all staff had been redeployed to other ILT venues, resulting in no job losses or redundancies.

The new-look venue was expected to reopen in mid-November.

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