Home' The Wellingtonian : November 22nd 2012 Contents NOVEMBER 22, 2012
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Concerned neighbour: Neave Fraser of the picture-framing business The Workshop in front of
the old Bar Bodega.
Photo: AMY JACKMAN
By KRISTEN PATERSON
Several buildings in upper Willis St, some
of them heritage-listed, remain empty five
years after the opening of the controversial
Locals have complained about squatters
The old Bar Bodega, at 278 Willis St, is
one of three heritage buildings that remain
unsold by the NZ Transport Agency. They
were bought and moved to make room for
the bypass, now Karo Dr.
Neave Fraser, who owns neighbouring
picture-framing business The Workshop, is
glad other buildings nearby have been
tenanted, but hopes something will happen
with the old Bodega soon.
It's tragic. It's such a beautiful building.
They spent all this money doing it up, and
now it feels like they've dropped the ball,''
Ms Fraser said.
On the other side of her shop, at 270
Willis St, the former Citron restaurant is
Business owners Rex and Wendy Morgan
moved out in 2009 when the transport
agency could not guarantee more than a
We decided to pursue new opportun-
ities,'' said Ms Morgan, now at Plentiful
Deli in Marjoribanks St, Mt Victoria.
Ms Fraser said homeless people now took
advantage of The Citron's veranda on warm
nights and the backyard had become a
It used to be a beautiful restaurant. Now
it's just derelict. We've had bottles hurled,
and one damaged our car,'' she said.
With new shops and apartments being
built across the road, Ms Fraser said upper
Willis St could turn into a happening area.
But they need to deal with the old
buildings. If they get done up, they'll get
The 19 heritage buildings moved by NZ
Transport Agency were offered for sale to
the descendants of the original owners,
then referred for assessment of iwi
interests to the Office of Treaty Settle-
After that, the agency put most of the
buildings on the market.
Bar Bodega and the old Stagecraft
Theatre were withdrawn temporarily in
2010 when the transport agency deemed
the tender price too low.
Stagecraft Theatre, now on the corner of
Karo Dr and Kensington St, was sold ear-
lier this year.
However, the old Bodega remains off the
market and, along with the heritage prop-
erty at 130 Abel Smith St, is unlikely to be
for sale for some time.
Transport agency communications man-
ager Anthony Frith said the buildings
would be retained during roading investiga-
tions for the Terrace Tunnel to Mt Victoria
The only other building in the area
retained by the transport agency, at 30
Arthur St, is in the process of being sold.
In nearby upper Cuba St, however, the
heritage buildings are bustling with
The buildings moved by the agency to
make way for the bypass have been done up
and sold, and businesses, tenants and land-
scaping have transformed the area from its
We're pleased with all the sales, and
believe that these restored historic build-
ings will revitalise this precinct,'' Mr Frith
No journey needed to get your Hobbit fix
The glamour of Hollywood will roll
in to Wellington for the world pre-
miere of The Hobbit: An Unexpec-
ted Journey on November 28.
In the lead-up to the premiere a
five-day Hobbit-inspired market
will be held at Waitangi Park,
noon till 6pm, November 24 to 28.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy
will screen at the park over three
nights from November 25 till 27
On the day of the premiere, fans
can see the stars walk from Read-
ing Cinema to The Embassy along
the red carpet, or watch it live on
the big screens in Waitangi Park.
Red carpet entertainment
begins at 3pm and the stars will
arrive from 4.30pm.
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