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Karapiro Power Station Café in Waikato For Sale

Power station café sale set to spark interest from amped up hospitality operators

A bar and restaurant complex which was originally used for administration and storage facilities during the construction of the imposing Karapiro Power Station and dam has been placed on the market for sale or lease via expressions of interest.

The property at 401 Ariki Street in the Waikato township of Karapiro is just a few hundred metres from the dam and lake which is now New Zealand’s premier aquatic sporting hub. In previous years the property housed the Power House café, restaurant, bar and conference center.

Now the 716 square metre food and beverage premises sitting on some 1,131 square metres of flat land at 401 Ariki Street has been placed on the market for sale or lease through Bayleys Waikato, with expressions of interest closing at 4pm on October 19.

The main café floor area is 496.5 square metres, with some 75 metres of additional front deck seating offering an uninterrupted view of the lake and the Maungatuatari Mountain in the backdrop. 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 onto 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 also comes with an upstairs self-contained 95 square metre two-bedroom owner/managers flat. The café 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. Also houses a large Chubb reinforced safe where the detonators and fuses were stored.

Bayleys Waikato salesperson Blair Hutcheson said the food and beverage venue had operated since 2008 under the present ownership - most recently as the William’s café and restaurant and gift shop trading seven days a week.

“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 good-will value attached to the business, and no current liquor license,” Mr Hutcheson said.

Front of house fittings facing the café 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, Mr Hutcheson said the commercial-grade stainless steel kitchen featured a 7.5 square metre 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 was a two metre central prepping bench, while at one end was the commercial dishwashing and rinsing unit. The separate lounge bar service area had its own glass washer and extensive 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 which now take place on the nearby Lake Karapiro.”

Mr Hutcheson said the venue’s proximity to Lake Karipiro – combined with the business’s existing catering chattels – opened up the opportunity for potentially developing the location into a self-sufficient dormitory-style accommodation facility, which 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 – to the point that it is now one of the best venues in New Zealand for kayaking and waka ama,” he said.

“Simultaneously, yet in another totally separate sporting arena, the opening of the Avanti indoor velodrome has seen that facility also now well patronized throughout the year – again, by both school, club and international competitors.

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

That’s even before a new operator could look at linking in with other ‘one-off’ events such as Fieldays agricultural expo’ held annually at Mystery Creek, or Balloons Over the Waikato.”

Waipa District Council has been instrumental in increasing the number of sporting events taking place on Lake Karapiro, strategically extending the length of individual competitions so that both competitors and spectators stayed longer in the region. The council has seen revenues grow from both powered and non-powered camping sites adjacent to the Lake Karapiro Domain.

Waipa District councillor and Lake Karapiro Mighty River Domain manager Liz Stolwyk said: "I really want to see longer events being staged on the lake as that benefits everyone - from the accommodation provider, to eateries, and retailers."


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