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Coastal holiday town’s former flagship dining and drinking hotspot premises placed on the market for sale

The property at 19 The Esplanade in Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula formerly accommodated Stoked Restaurant and Bar – a modern and trendy establishment specialising in charcoal oven cooking serving up chargrilled meats, seafood, and vegetables with a charred finish and smoky aroma. The venue with its woodfired pizzas has been trading since 2015 and will close for good upon sale settlement.

The waterfront property consists of a 251-square metre commercial building – previously converted to an extremely high standard from a three-bedroom residential dwelling – sitting on approximately 883-square metres of freehold land zoned waterfront Under the Thames Coromandel District Council plan.

Renown for the quality of its food along with its prime location, Stoked’s customer catchment area had stretched in all directions around Whitianga - from Cooks Beach and Hahei to the east up to Kuaotunu to the north.

Now the freehold land and building at 19 The Esplanade in Whitianga are being marketed for sale at auction on May 18 through Bayleys Whitianga. Salesperson Josh Smith said the single-storey building was being sold as vacant - with Stoked’s owners/operators relocating to the Waikato where their children are now attending high school.

“The layout and framework of the Stoked premises offers a virtual ‘turnkey’ building to sustain a new hospitality venture on site – meaning the land and building could be purchased by an existing hospitality operator looking for a prime central Whitianga location to trade from, or it could be bought as an investment opportunity by an owner/developer looking to undertake a new fit out and then tenant the premises,” Smith said.

“Either way, Stoked clearly demonstrated over the years that a quality hospitality offering on the site is both viable and sustainable – attracting tourists and holidaymakers over the busy summer seasons, in conjunction with serving a loyal local clientele throughout the year.

“In its current hospitality format, the establishment delivers multiple ‘zones’ within its floorplate to pander for different customer dynamics – with a nook style bar area with leaners for those wanting a casual drink or bar snack type meal, though to a large internal dining area, and an extensive decking area allowing for al-fresco dining and drinking.

“As a function venue, there is the opportunity to increase the number of weddings and functions hosted at the site over the quieter winter months.”

The foodservice and hospitality equipment which sustained Stoked’s food and beverage activities – ranging from commercial cookers, ovens, grillers, and refrigeration units, through to back-bar drinks storage chillers, and furniture – are being stripped out from the premises prior to hand-over to any new owner.

Smith said that with a waterfront zoning, the clean lined property could be redeveloped to accommodate other commercial structures – such as a low-rise apartment complex benefitting from sensational water views. There are only 14 properties in Whitianga which have waterfront zoning overlooking beautiful Mercury Bay.

“Any apartments developed on the location could have fabulous uninterrupted marina and estuary sea views, while also being in the centre of town for access to retail and social amenities,” he said.

“Alternative commercial uses for the site could also include a doctor’s practice, or a medical and healthcare hub tenanted by multiple individual operators on a shared reception basis. Any configuration along these lines could of course make use of a substantial sealed patient car parking space at the rear of the site where currently there is a large cool store unit for food storage.”

Over the past decade, Whitianga has grown to become New Zealand’s foremost big game fishing destination – with bountiful billfish found off its shores, and anglers coming from within the country and abroad to partake in the recreational activity. Whitianga now annually hosts one of the most lucrative big game fishing events in the Southern Hemisphere, the Kubota Billfish Classic which was held recently – buoyed by a potential prize pool of up to $875,000, including a $200,000 cheque for the heaviest billfish.

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