A group of Auckland chief executives will doss down in an inner-city car park next month to raise money for a new cafe for the city's homeless.

The 17 men and nine women who have signed up for the "big sleepout" have already raised $15,325 towards a $50,000 target for the Methodist Church's Lifewise mission.

The money will be used to open a new cafe in Karangahape Rd which will replace the mission's Airedale St soup kitchen from November.

The Airedale St site was part of a block on the corner of Queen and Wakefield Sts, the core of which was owned by the Methodist Church since it was gifted by Governor George Grey in 1851.

It was sold in July 2008 for more than $25 million to Korean investor Prince Corporation, which went into receivership on September 1.

The block is up for resale by tender with Bayleys, and bids close on September 30.

The historic Aotea Chapel has already moved, and is operating from temporary premises in the Methodist Mission office in Mayoral Drive.

Lifewise Centre manager Corie Haddock said the new "Hub" cafe, in premises used by a commercial cafe until recently, would banish the concept of a "soup kitchen".

Basic meals would still be on sale for $1, as in Airedale St, but they would now be available to the general public at any time between 7am and 4pm, seven days a week, instead of at fixed times and only for the homeless.

"It's deinstitutionalising because you don't have to line up to get your meal," Mr Haddock said.

A professional manager is being recruited, but the mission will train homeless people as baristas, kitchenhands and waiting staff and will pay them well above the minimum wage.

"This gives people a pathway out of homelessness," Mr Haddock said.

Urgent Couriers managing director Steve Bonnici, whose vans pick up food donations free for the City Mission, said he agreed to join the sleepout on October 14 to "leverage the networks" he has built since founding the company 20 years ago.

He has already received a $1000 donation from Sir Stephen Tindall.

So far Huljich Wealth Management founder Peter Huljich, who stepped down as head of his firm in March, has raised the largest amount, $4132.

ON THE WEB:www.bigsleepout.org.nz