The demolition of the old Hennessy's Irish Bar building has begun in earnest with contractors on schedule to have its modern replacement ready for summer.

The bar is being demolished to make way for a new $3 million development that's expected to breathe more life into Rotorua's central city.

The Tutanekai St building, that also housed Blarneys Rock Backpackers, is being brought down from the rear with a large hollow shipping container being used to protect passersby.

The 1920s era building was deemed earthquake prone and its owner decided to knock it over and start again.

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Its final trading day was Easter Sunday, but bar manager Sue Burnett said she expected the new bar to be open some time in November.

"The demolition contractors said it's a complex building to knock over as it's an old building that's had extensions over extensions over extensions over the years.

The demolition of the old Hennessy's Irish Bar building has begun in earnest. Photo/Stephen Parker
The demolition of the old Hennessy's Irish Bar building has begun in earnest. Photo/Stephen Parker

"Myself and the Hennessy family think it is sad it's coming down, but it's going to be bigger and better, healthier, and so much easier to operate out of.

"There have been a couple of delays, making sure they got all the heath and safety issues sorted, but the contractor is saying they have picked up the time lost and are throwing everything they have at us to get it done on time."

Ms Burnett said all the pre-fabricated fixtures and fittings were ready to go in and the new kitchen had been designed with state of the art equipment.

She said by today, the demolition digger would have made its way into the very middle of the building.

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"All the good old wood has been salvaged and removed and the led-light windows are in storage and will be re-used in the front of the new building.

"We're really looking forward to serving people a decent pint of Guinness again in a few months," she said.