ALREADY garaging the largest collection of motorcycles in the southern hemisphere, Classic Motorcycle Mecca is undergoing a major redevelopment and expansion not only to increase the size of its display areas, but also to bring in new technology and add more motorcycles and marques to its collection.
Group property manager Sue Hill said the group was aiming to transform the existing collection into Australasia’s premier motorcycle museum, not only by redeveloping the first floor above the Mecca, but also by completely renovating the entire collection and adding new marques to it.
Bill Richardson Transport World director Jocelyn O’Donnell said it was “a very exciting year for Classic Motorcycle Mecca and Transport World”.
Not only would the new space be larger, but the current displays would also be different, she said.
As part of the redevelopment, which Ms Hill said could last until the end of the year, the entire building would also be earthquake strengthened.
In the middle of last year, the Mecca was given a government grant of $550,000 from the Tourism Growth Partnership Fund, which Ms Hill said had to be matched by the Richardson Group dollar for dollar, but was “aside from the earthquake strengthening” budget.
“We have put a substantial investment into this to create the best motorbike display in Australasia.”
Stage one of the redevelopment was under way, with the consent granted, and demolition, reconstruction and earthquake strengthening on track, she said.
“We got consent for stage one on the Friday [a couple of weeks ago], by Saturday we were under way, with the outside scaffolding up and work in progress.
“We are powering into it… we have 11 builders on site this (last) week, and we are doing a lot of split shifts – at night and early morning so as to cause as little disruption to the public as possible and not interrupt day-to-day operations at either the Meccaspresso Cafe or the Mecca.”
Project manager Roger Morton, of Henderson Construction, said “it was amazing [for the Mecca and cafe] to keep doing business as usual with a project of this scale.”
Stage two would be construction work and building, with stage three the fit-out and displays/exhibits.
Ms Hill said the revamped and new displays would show a wider scope of themes, interactive displays, technological improvements and have more family-friendly spaces.
The various marques had been “acquired through various generous donations from other collections, which will allow us to broaden the collection, so it won’t just be the classic motorcycles which are on display, rather a selection of different genres, including speedway bikes, Japanese, motocross and others,” she said.
“As well as some pretty exciting new bikes coming… there will be a whole lot more technology and interactive content.”
As well as the upper floor, work is also being undertaken in the basement, with the aim of creating an access way from Wood St. A new single entrance on Tay St will also be established to give patrons an easier flow into the Mecca and cafe.
Asked if the Mecca would be closed to the public during the work, Ms Hill said she anticipated it would only be for one day much later in the project when some of the electrical work was undertaken.