A couple of century-old theatres scarred by fire and left untouched for 50 years have been transformed into fashionable restaurants in the heart of Auckland.
The Roxy and Everybody’s have been reimagined as a fine dining eatery and bistro respectively, brought back to life by a team including Phillimore Properties, responsible for many of Auckland’s heritage developments and the CBD Tower in Wellington which sold for $62 million; Fearon Hay, renowned architects behind Wynyard Quarter’s new North Wharf; and young hospitality wunderkinds Pack & Company, whose already impressive list of bars, restaurants and cafes includes Auckland’s Northern Steamship, Neighbourhood, Snapdragon and Shaky Isles, and Wellington’s Matterhorn and Foxglove.
The two restaurants are located on the first floor of the Imperial building, directly above Imperial Lane, one of Auckland's first public shared spaces.
Accessible from both Queen St and Fort Lane, the redesign encompasses all four levels of the heritage-listed building.
Noted chefs Sean Marshall and partner Kristina Jensen are largely responsible for the transformation; Marshall is the head chef for The Roxy, the building's flagship space.
Sign-posted by a seven-metre high neon sign, The Roxy retains its theatrical proportions with vast ceiling height and sweeping stairs. While a fire in the 1950s means there is little to indicate the ornate
detail that once existed, the combined effect of the original exposed
bricks (still blackened by fire), high steel trusses and timber sarked
roof is that of a 100-year old warehouse. Additions include a new mezzanine level and impressive rooftop courtyard with views of Fort Lane and Auckland’s cityscape.
Marshall’s team was responsible for transforming Everybody’s theatre into Everybody’s Bar and Bistro. The original mouldings and plaster ceiling are still in place and additions have been made including a courtyard, booths and a mezzanine.
The next stage will see more eateries and retailers opening up in and around Imperial Lane, with office spaces on the floors above also to be filled.