IT’S all engines go as the Classic Motorcycle Mecca opens.
Coinciding with motorcycling superstar and media personality Guy Martin’s visit to Invercargill to take part in the Burt Munro Challenge, the Mecca is now open to the public.
Two inner city buildings, the former Players nightclub and H & J Smith Outdoor World, in Tay St, have been stripped down, massively renovated and linked in the past six months to house an impressive collection of about 300 motorcycles and associated motorcycle-focused artworks, which were purchased earlier this year from a former Nelson owner by Scott and Jocelyn O’Donnell.
Mrs O’Donnell is a director of HW Richardson Group, which has developed Bill Richardson Transport World further east in Tay St, and is the late Bill Richardson’s daughter.
Tourism operations manager Hannah Whyte said the opening of the Mecca was about one year from the opening of Transport World, which has had thousands of people through the truck-themed museum, automotive displays, growing wearable art collection, conference and event facilities.
The Mecca collection ranges from a 1902 Peugeot motorcycle to a 21st century Simms Corbin Custom and includes marques such as AJS, Ariel, BMW, Brough Superior, Harley Davidson, Henderson and Indian, as well as little-known marques such as Schwinn and Zundapp.
HWR Group property manager Sue Hill said the collection was displayed over two floors of the former Outdoor World building, with Players housing the new inner city cafe, Meccaspresso, and entranceway. Mash Catering, which is the leaseholder for The Grille cafe at Transport World, would run the new cafe.
Ms Hill said the development was ahead of schedule.
“The contractors have been absolutely amazing, keeping the process rolling along.”
Ms Hill said once the buildings had been stripped back, the exposed brick walls and T&G left an industrial feel, which made for an amazing backdrop for the artwork and motorcycles.
“It’s been as restorative as possible… we have recycled, reused and repurposed as much materials as we can to create unique and interesting spaces, with a few quirky surprises as ell.”
Adding to the mechanical/industrial feel, all the fittings were made locally by engineers, she said.
“The team is very excited about the Mecca and for everyone to finally have a chance to see it. We couldn’t have got a better time to open, coinciding with this year’s Burt Munro Challenge and Guy Martin’s visit.”