Former power station cafe sparks interest

6:39 PM Friday September 22, 2017 True Commercial

The property is a few hundred metres from the dam and lake. Photo / Supplied

A bar and restaurant complex used for administration and storage during the construction of Karapiro Power Station and dam is on the market for sale or lease.

The property, at 401 Ariki St in the Waikato township of Karapiro, is just a few hundred metres from the dam and lake regarded as the country’s premier aquatic sporting hub.

In previous years the property housed the Power House cafe, restaurant, bar and conference centre.

Now the 716sq m food and beverage premises sitting on some 1131sq m of flat land at 401 Ariki St is for sale or lease through Bayleys Waikato.

Expressions of interest close on October 19.

The main cafe floor area is 496.5sq m, with about 75m of additional front deck seating offering an uninterrupted view of the lake and Maungatautari Mountain.

The dining area features high-stud, exposed beams supporting wood roof trusses, and polished wooden floors, while a smaller lounge bar room contains an area for plush leather-style seating and couches facing on to a large alpine stone gas fireplace surround and its own private bar with stool seating.

When operating, the venue had been consented to serve 80 diners. It also has an adjoining room providing seating for 50 conferences guests, weddings and birthday and anniversary celebrations to name but a few. This room features a screen and projector facilities.

The property comes with an upstairs self-contained 95sq m two-bedroom owner/manager’s flat.

The cafe and restaurant are serviced by men’s and women’s toilets, including a wheelchair-accessible amenity. Another historical feature of the building is the “Dynamite Bar” — a concrete-enclosed “tomb” with reinforced doors. It was used to house explosives for the construction of the dam and also houses a large Chubb reinforced safe where the detonators and fuses were stored.

Bayleys Waikato salesperson Blair Hutcheson says the food and beverage venue has operated since 2008 under present ownership — most recently as the William’s Cafe. The restaurant and gift shop traded seven-days-a-week.

Internal Karapiro.jpg

The dining area features high-stud, exposed beams. Photo / Supplied

“That leased food and beverage business ceased operating recently, so all fittings and chattels are being sold on an ‘as is-where is’ basis — although they were all functioning when last used. There is no goodwill value attached to the business, and no current liquor license,” Hutcheson says.

Front of house fittings facing the cafe dining area include a three-metre-long service counter with separate shoulder-height chilled food display cabinet, all tables, chairs and leather couches, crockery and cutlery.

Out back, Hutcheson says the commercial-grade stainless steel kitchen features a 7.5sq m walk-in chiller unit with shelving, a combi-oven, hot plate section, large oven, overhead grillers, and deep fryer — all under a full length stainless steel extraction canopy hood with fans.

In the middle of the kitchen is a 2m central prepping bench, while at one end was the commercial dishwashing and rinsing unit.

The separate lounge bar service area has its own glass washer and vessel storage cabinetry with extensive refrigeration.

“With a specific marketing approach, the venue could easily affiliate itself more closely to the plethora of sporting events that now take place on the nearby Lake Karapiro.”

Hutcheson says closeness to the lake, combined with existing catering chattels opens the opportunity to develop the location into a self-sufficient dormitory-style accommodation facility.

This could potentially be utilised by schools or clubs competing in sporting events on the lake subject to resource consent.

“For decades now, Lake Karapiro has traditionally been the North Island home of rowing at the elite level — be that school, club, or international standards. However, as the variety of ‘on-water’ sports has grown, so too has Lake Karapiro’s use.

“It is now one of the best venues in New Zealand for kayaking and waka ama,” he says.

“The Avanti indoor velodrome is now well-patronised throughout the year, attracting both school, club and international competitors.

“The property is ideally suited to cater for events at both these venues.”

Waipa District Council has been instrumental in increasing the number of sporting events on Lake Karapiro, extending the length of individual competitions so people stay longer in the region.

The council has seen revenues grow from both powered and non-powered camping sites adjacent to Karapiro Domain.