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A new restaurant and bar is planned for the old arcade in Main Street.

The development is the brainchild of Derek Kelly, who bought the arcade building last year – in part to house his real estate company, Kelly & Co. Derek was keen for the company to have its own modern art office space, which adjoins the arcade itself.

The fitout for that has already been completed with Kelly & Co moving in officially on August 1, two years to the day from when the company was established.

An early-stage conceptual drawing of the proposed arcade development in Ōtaki, showing the front view from Main Street.

Image supplied

“We’re very much in the early stages of planning for the new restaurant and bar, so even our concept drawings are just preliminary,” Derek says. “A fair bit can change in the next year or two. There’s a lot of further planning, work and expenditure required before we get it over the line.”

Derek says a 2025 opening would be great, but even that might be optimistic.

“I am excited about the possibilities though, so I’ll be working as hard and fast as I can to make it happen.”

He says it’s clear to him that Ōtaki needs a new restaurant and bar, especially in the evening. That need motivated him to buy the building in the first place.

“We don’t have many options in Ōtaki for evening dining, nor for a comfortable venue where people can go for a good wine or beer.

“Ōtaki is undergoing a period of huge growth and without doubt there is a need for an establishment like this. Many Ōtaki folks travel to Kāpiti for a meal or a night out, so this project has to be good for our town.”

Derek has always observed that the heart of the Ōtaki community is in the township, rather than among the retail shops in the Railway area. It’s why he established his new real estate business in the township two years ago.

And it’s why he believes a new restaurant and bar will thrive.

“We already have the Māoriland Hub in Main Street, which attracts people from all over the world during the film festival. Thousands of others come here to go to the Ōtaki Kite Festival and the Festival of Pots and Garden Art. They should be able to enjoy a modern venue where they can relax and get a great meal.”

Plans are for the new restaurant to operate at the front of the premises; the bar at the back. It is anticipated that the restaurant will operate during the daytime as well as the evening and is planned to seat about 75 people indoors and potentially the same number outdoors.

 Depending on who leases the premises, the restaurant could have a separate operator from the bar.

A feature of the current plans is a raised outdoor platform at the back of the building.

“We’ve looked at what sort of view you could get from up there, and you can actually see Kāpiti Island,” Derek says. “The council has also grassed over an area near the back of the building, on Rangatira Street, so it will be a really pleasant place to be.”

The arcade was originally built in 1952. It housed the Yates furniture store for several years. In 1987 the store moved to a distinctive new building on the highway, which was designed by local architect Dennis Manz. That building now houses the Coin Save shop.




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Derek ‘excited’ about arcade plans

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