Oamaru’s Criterion Hotel should be open again this summer.
The landmark building in the Victorian precinct has been closed since November last year. The 1877 building on the corner of Harbour and Tyne Sts has been owned by the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust for some 30 years, then the trust bought the hotel business in December last year.
Trust chairman Graeme Clark told the Oamaru Mail he was confident new tenants would be running the Criterion by the summer.
There were “at least a couple” of parties “looking quite seriously” at taking it on, he said.
If a tenant had not been installed in time for the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations on November 11-15, the trust would open the Criterion to the public throughout the festivities, Mr Clark said.
The most recent publican in the hotel was Sue Cameron-Duncan, who had bought the business in 2016 from well-known Oamaru restaurateur Sally-Ann Donnelly.
The trust had carried out maintenance work on the building while it was unoccupied.
The trust was also seeking tenants for the former Oasis premises at 10 Harbour St, which were being used temporarily by Willetts Furniture Makers.
In the new year, the Adventure Books site in Harbour St would become vacant. Adventure Books owner Bill Nye would be “mad” not to take up the opportunity to move his business back to Christchurch, Mr Clark said.
My Nye had been “one of our star tenants” and the trust wished him well, he said.
All the local real estate agents knew about the precinct premises that were available to new tenants, and trust operations manager Mark Smith was in frequent contact with them, Mr Clark said.
“They’re great spaces,” Mr Clark said of the vacancies.
“If the whole Covid thing hadn’t happened, they would be tenanted by now.”