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The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust, which owns the building in the town’s Victorian precinct, bought the business last year from former publican Sue Cameron-Duncan in a sale that was settled on December 6.
She bought the business operating in the 1877 landmark hotel in Tyne St from Sally-Ann Donnelly, one of Oamaru’s best-known restaurateurs, in 2016.
Speaking to the Otago Daily Times yesterday, trust chairman Graeme Clark said negotiations were continuing with prospective tenants and he expected to make an announcement about the hotel’s future in "the next couple of weeks".
However, he confirmed the trust did plan to reopen the premises as a hotel.
"It was always going to continue to run as a hotel ... we are in negotiations.
"We are working our way through it and it will be a good result afterwards."
He declined to elaborate on any details about the hotel’s reopening yesterday.
"The less said the better really," Mr Clark said.
An on-licence application, published for the first time in last Friday’s Oamaru Mail under the name Criterion Hotel Ltd, has been lodged with the Waitaki District Council.
It seeks to sell liquor inside from Monday to Sunday from 8am to 2am the following day and at an "outdoor pavement area" from Monday to Sunday from 10am to 11am.
Mr Clark said for now, the trust had shifted its focus to the building itself.
"We are using this time at the moment to do some much-needed maintenance on the building and the inside."
The rejuvenation of Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct, many in town say, began at the Criterion Hotel as volunteers reopened the bar for social gatherings.