Buy an old public toilet, open a new shop

This isn’t just a cheeky bit of toilet humour: five of Auckland’s heritage public toilets are up for lease. Some of the council’s suggestions for utilising the space include opening a shop or a café.

The council release stops short of having a potty mouth, but says it’s a unique opportunity to redevelop and restore some of the most interesting heritage buildings in Auckland.

The toilets are located in Customs St West (opened 1918), Wellesley St East (opened 1937), Corner Sturdee St and Market Pl (opened 1917), New North Rd (opened 1927) and Sandringham Rd (opened 1930).

Auckland council general manager of property Ian Wheeler says the council is open to a range of ideas.

“There are so many possibilities with this exciting project,” Wheeler says.

“Similar projects in New Zealand and abroad have seen public toilets transformed into cafes, bars, retail spaces, galleries, salons and more.”

Those who have a phobia of grimy public toilets can breathe a sigh of relief, as the Kingsland toilets are the only toilets that are still in use.

The other toilets have been out of use for some time.

Currently, there are whiteboards in the toilets where patrons can explore and scrawl ideas for what they’ve envisioned the toilets becoming.

Turning public toilets that are perceived as unsanitary into a shop or café isn’t completely unheard of – an abandoned public toilet block in London was turned into a café called Attendant.

First as urinals

Now as a café

Wellington pub, the Welsh Dragon, also started life as a block of toilets servicing the city’s trams.

Its dome-shaped building is located on a traffic island at the end of Courtenay Pl. The pub references its Welsh theme and embraces its past by encouraging patrons to “come in for a leek".


Wikimedia Commons

Expressions of interest are being sought from Friday 17 July until 17 August.

The request for expressions of interest document can be found here.

==========

This article was originally published on our sibling publication, TheRegister.co.nz