ILT plans revamp

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Don St bar and restaurant The Kiln will close when the new $40 million ILT hotel is built on the corner of Don and Dee Sts.

INVERCARGILL’S bar and restaurant scene is set for a shake up as the Invercargill Licensing Trust takes a close look at its inner-city establishments.

ILT chief executive Chris Ramsay said the new $40 million hotel development had provided the organisation with a good opportunity to investigate its future food and beverage presence in the CBD.

As a result of the planned hotel development on the corner of Dee and Don Sts, two restaurants and bars, Barluca and The Kiln, will close.

They will be replaced in some form, but a location and just what type of establishments they will be remains up in the air.

Mr Ramsay said no decisions had been made and the ILT still needed to do a lot of investigating before it was able to firm up what any new bar or restaurant would look like.

One of the questions the ILT needed to answer was whether one of the two establishments to be closed – The Kiln and Barluca – would be replaced by the new hotel’s bar and restaurant, or whether the ILT opened two new venues as well as the hotel bar and restaurant, which would be three new ILT food and beverage venues in the city.

“We need to look at if there is the market to do that,” Mr Ramsay said.

“It is a balancing act. We need to take into account what the public want, but also make sure that it is profitable so we can continue to return that money back to the community.”

Mr Ramsay said the ILT remained in contact with the company jointly owned by the HW Richardson Group and the Invercargill City Council which is taking on a big overhaul of the Invercargill CBD and would continue to do so as it worked through how the potential new bars and restaurants would slot in to the new-look CBD.

However, he said discussions on potential new ILT bars and restaurants in Invercargill were still in an early stage.

As far as the hotel development was concerned, Mr Ramsay said a timeline he had been provided suggested demolition of the building on the site would start by the end of the year.

Resistance from Heritage New Zealand had the potential to draw out the consent process and he hoped it would not stand in the way of the progress of Invercargill’s CBD developments, he said.

The ILT is still not yet in a position to provide the public with concept drawings of the new hotel, but Mr Ramsay last week was able to share some new details at the Southland Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.

The new hotel will be a 10-level building, it will have a cafe, bar, and restaurant, and it will include conference venues and parking.

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