Work to begin on Wellington’s band rotunda nine years after it closed

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Work is set to begin on the band rotunda in Wellington’s Oriental Bay.

The Oriental Bay band rotunda has housed restaurants in the past, including the Fisherman's Table.

The Oriental Bay band rotunda has housed restaurants in the past, including the Fisherman’s Table. Photo: CC BY-SA 2.0 / Tony

The waterfront landmark was built in 1938 but has been closed for nine years after it was found to need extensive strengthening and restoration work.

The building’s heritage features will be an important part of the final design and as a listed heritage building, the renovations will require resource consent to be granted by Wellington City Council.

Initially, the council had chosen Cheops Holdings as the preferred developer in 2019, but that was work has been slowed due to Covid-19.

Sister company McKee Fehl Constructors will now undertake the development, which is due to be finished later this year.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster said he was delighted construction will begin next week, as the building was an iconic part of the capital’s waterfront.

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“For so many years it has been a place where families and friends have recorded their place in history, so I am delighted to have construction underway.

“It is obviously a complex project with its feet literally in the sea, but in Maurice Clark and his companies we have a partner with an outstanding track record in strengthening and restoring challenging and significant heritage icons,” he said.

Cheops Holdings managing director Maurice Clark hoped to attract a “premier hospitality operator” to the iconic site.

“We will be approaching the international and local hospitality market in the coming months to find a long-term tenant for this special Wellington landmark.”

Clark, who was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to heritage preservation and the construction industry, specialises in restoring and rejuvenating historic, under-utilised buildings across Wellington for commercial, residential and hospitality uses.

His portfolio includes the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s head office at Stout Street, the Public Trust Building, and Press Hall precinct.

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Council heritage and buildings resilience portfolio lead councillor Iona Pannett said the partnership with Cheops Holdings is a continuation of the council’s work to ensure that the city is ready for earthquakes.

“The deal means the council is able to keep the band rotunda without the huge cost of upgrading it.

“The council’s heritage team has worked with Cheops on a design that retains the building’s heritage significance and an important sea wall yet will deliver a superb, revitalised waterfront venue.”

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