Cafe, store plan for historic building

Lawrie Forbes outside the former McIndoe Print building in Vogel St, which he wants to transform...
Lawrie Forbes outside the former McIndoe Print building in Vogel St, which he wants to transform into a cafe and homeware store. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Lawrie Forbes is at it again.

The entrepreneurial developer of historic Dunedin buildings plans to add another major project to his portfolio, this time rescuing a dilapidated former printer and bookbinder's building.

Mr Forbes will appeal to the Dunedin City Council's hearings committee today, to grant him consent to convert the two-storey Rogan McIndoe building at 76 Vogel St into a cafe, restaurant and homeware store, with possible function space upstairs.

The historic building sits in a large-scale retail zone, and Mr Forbes wants to alter the facade of the building, by painting it and adding windows and signs, as part of the renovation.

He proposes to run an activity not technically allowed in the zone, and make changes subject to restrictions in a heritage precinct, so must seek consent.

He said he had the support of the Historic Places Trust and neighbours.

Council staff are also recommending the committee grant the consent.

Planner Amy Young said in her report to the committee the building was regarded by some as a significant building in a prominent location.

The council had supported earlier restoration, was now improving the streetscape and water works in the area, and had plans for further improvements.

With the exception of residential activity, few permitted activities would be appropriate for the building without significant alteration and/or requiring resource consent, she said.

''Given the quandary associated with identifying permitted activities that could fit within the existing fabric of the zone, the required observance of the values associated with the heritage precinct, and the existing corruption of the zone, I believe there is significant difficulty in consistently administering the large-scale retail zone at this location.''

Mr Forbes said he was excited about the project, which would come at a time when the area was beginning to come to life with people and businesses.

The location of the cafe, across the road from the redeveloped Donald Reid warehouse building, which now hosted dozens of workers, was ideal, and with the redevelopment of the old chief post office under way the area was only going to get livelier, he said.

His tenant, who would run the cafe and homeware store, had moved from Christchurch after the earthquakes, he said.

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