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The announcement on Friday followed a week of uncertainty after "sold" stickers appeared on the building the week before. Cr Hawkins said there had been "real concern and anxiety" from both arts and heritage building enthusiasts over the building’s future, and that it could have been "bought and bowled".
Now the council was working on a report, due by Easter, that would present several options for the building that backs on to Vogel St. These included keeping it as a concert venue, turning it into an arts hub or reconverting it into a theatre, he said.
"It’s got huge potential to be a real landmark."
Council urban design team leader Crystal Filep said the council had been working on the purchase for "at least a couple of months", but she knew it had been a work in progress while her predecessor Glen Hazelton was still in the role.
She said she was "quite excited" about the purchase and the potential of the 121-year-old venue.
The deal was was finalised with help from an unidentified third party, which purchased the building from Sam Chin and sold it to the council. The building had been for sale since September 2016, after the loss of the venue’s liquor licence, due to multiple licensing issues over several years. Mr Chin had also tried to sell the building in 2013.
Many high-profile New Zealand and international acts have performed at Sammy’s, including The Chills, The Clean, Violent Femmes and the Pogues.
Community consultation over Sammy’s use is expected later this year.