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One of the oldest buildings in Waimate is now home to the town’s newest business.

The former Waimate Hotel, now called The Waimate, re-opened as a bar and restaurant this week.

The Queen St building, built in 1901, was bought by Waimate rich-lister Gary Rooney’s Waimate Property Holdings in March last year.

It has undergone extensive renovations, as part of wider efforts by Mr Rooney and Waimate Property Holdings to breathe new life into the town’s main street.

The building’s exterior has been given a facelift, but the most dramatic changes are inside, where there is a new open-plan design.

Double decker . . . The Waimate has open plan seating with upstairs and downstairs areas. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

The building next door was demolished and an outdoor dining area is in its place, and the car park has been extended and resurfaced.

‘‘Gary wanted to have a restaurant and a nice place to go in a prominent building,’’ project manager Les Buckingham said.

‘‘We wanted to offer something that is a reason to drive [to Waimate].’’

The project had been ‘‘full on’’ since work started in August last year, Mr Buckingham said.

‘‘There were a few challenges, but we had a good team.

‘‘Because the exterior was all in one piece we had to shuffle a few things around inside — we couldn’t use any heavy machinery.’’

The renovations are the latest to be completed by Waimate Property Holdings in the South Canterbury town.

Last year, the company built a medical centre, ambulance bay and pharmacy, also in Queen St, which cost close to $2million.

It also owns several other buildings on Waimate’s main street and Quinn’s Arcade in High St.

Waimate Property Holding’s aim was to ‘‘get Waimate going ahead’’, Mr Buckingham said.

‘‘Once we get the ball rolling it will start to self-generate interest [in the town].’’

The Waimate general manager Rick Stevens said the theme of the new menu was ‘‘fresh and local’’ ingredients.

‘‘There is something for everybody, we tried to keep the prices as reasonable as possible.’’

Mr Stevens moved to Waimate from Christchurch — and admitted he had to check where the South Canterbury town was before accepting the job.

‘‘I was impressed by the build and what Gary wants to do for the town.’’

The Waimate will serve cafe food from 8am during the day and pub food in the evenings.

At present, a limited beer on tap is the ‘‘Waimate Toomey’s Ale’’, which was brewed in Christchurch using Waimate water.

The name pays homage to Tim Twomey, who was the original proprietor of the hotel.