John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Pub makeover extends to creating Papamoa town centre

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A vision to create a new town centre for Papamoa has been unveiled by the creative force behind the long overdue redevelopment of the legendary "Pap Tav".

The project's creative director Larry Green explained how within five years the half-hectare site beside Domain Rd would also be humming with boutique shops and a brewery.

Mr Green whose credentials include the decor of Mount Maunganui's Postbank Restaurant and Astrolabe is fizzing with enthusiasm about his makeover of Papamoa Beach Tavern and plans for the rest of the site next to Papamoa Plaza's carpark.

"We want to create a town centre, a heart for Papamoa, something that can't be franchised."

His vision for a town centre has been made possible by Astrolabe owner Paul Ryan taking over the lease of the tavern site and putting Mr Green in charge of the creative details.

Former lessee Riki Walls has done a deal in which he has sub-leased the tavern's sports bar until March, by which time he planned to have found a new home for the bar in Papamoa.

Mr Green said the sports bar would be redeveloped into a fine dining restaurant, meaning that once the tavern complex was fully developed, it would offer a full range of food experiences. The tavern would have pub food on the menu such as burgers and chips, while another wing of the building would be separated off and converted into a cafe.

He sees the carpark as one of the site's biggest assets. It could double as a venue for weekly markets and events like Christmas fetes.

The bottle store at the Gravatt Rd end of the site would remain, with a plan to build a brewery in stages along the plaza carpark boundary. The boutique shops would face into the tavern's carpark and back onto Domain Rd.

Mr Green said the surprisingly large site would be crafted into a town centre sensitive to community needs.

The tavern is to reopen next month without the brewery, although Mr Green said a range of beers produced by a dedicated bunch of Tauranga home brewers could plug the gap in the meantime.

"Let's sell our beer for a change."

When the 35-year-old tavern reopens, it will reverberate with a jaunty, beachy, nautical theme, brimming with freshness, light and colour. A far cry from the drab darkened wood interiors fashionable in the 1980s.

Features of New Zealand holidays such as a caravan and an old launch will become interior features, along with a one-man undersea sub dangling above the areas called the snug, mezzanine and conservatory.

"We are turning up the beach in Papamoa Beach Tavern."

The inside area of the tavern closest to the courtyard has been christened the sun room because of the huge amount of light streaming in. Outside, a 6-metre-long fibreglass swordfish attached to the building's front gables will peer down on the courtyard which was also be upgraded.

One side of the courtyard will feature a children's playground, with its centrepiece an orange lifeboat washed up from the Rena.

Even the 1980s lollipop lights will be cleaned and shifted from the carpark into the courtyard. People will enter the courtyard from the street by walking under a restored lifeguard tower from Taranaki.

Mr Green said public feedback so far had been phenomenal, with people turning up with old oars and photos of fishing competitions from the 1980s.

Timetable for development
Refurbished Papamoa Beach Tavern and courtyard reopens December 16
Fine dining restaurant, cafe and brewery opens by Christmas 2017
Brewery extensions and boutique shops behind tavern opens within five years

- Bay of Plenty Times

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