Rock and Roll hall-of-famer Phil Rudd wants to liven up the Tauranga scene by running his own distinctive harbourside restaurant.
The celebrated AC/DC drummer is planning to open Phil's Place at the Bridge Marina with a seafood and top-quality steak dining experience.
Mr Rudd, who has lived in Tauranga for more than 25 years and toured the world with top rock band AC/DC, has bought the The Bridge Bistro and Bar business, which closed last weekend.
Mr Rudd's lawyer Karen Gravatt confirmed the deal was settled yesterday. "He has grand plans for it," she said. Phil's Place restaurant is expected to open in mid-September after extensive refurbishment.
Mr Rudd, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with other AC/DC members in 2003, visited the restaurant, which is situated on the edge of the marina and has views to Mauao, yesterday afternoon.
A team of tradesmen was waiting there to take instructions.
Mike Hamilton, Mr Rudd's manager, told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend the restaurant would be bigger than anything New Zealand had seen because of its owner and his overseas contacts.
"Phil calls Tauranga his home, he has made a lot of money and he wants to spend it in this city," Mr Hamilton said. "He wants to give stuff back to the community, and this [restaurant] is the first step."
Previous owner Edd Groves decided to sell The Bridge Bistro after operating it for five-and-a-half years. He renamed the restaurant twice, after earlier being called Spinnakers Restaurant and The Lobster Club.
Mr Groves, who closed the restaurant last Sunday, said he may continue running his other restaurant, The Flying Burrito Brothers in downtown Tauranga, after earlier putting it on the market as well.
"I had a couple of offers but they weren't satisfactory, and I need something to do," he said.
Mr Rudd arrived in Tauranga after leaving AC/DC in 1983; he first joined the band in 1975 following an audition.
One of his first moves here was to buy a helicopter company, and he has a collection of 10 luxury cars including two Ferraris, one Lamborghini, a Rolls Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin.
Mr Rudd displayed his collection in Tauranga in March to support earthquake-ravaged Christchurch. He auctioned four rides in some of his cars, as well as an AC/DC lithograph, caricature and a drum kit, and raised $26,350 for the New Zealand Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Appeal.
Mr Rudd returned to AC/DC in 1994 and is still performing with the band alongside Brian Johnson, Angus and Malcolm Young, and Cliff Williams.
AC/DC completed their Black Ice World Tour in June last year, playing in 29 countries and performing 168 high voltage rock 'n' roll concerts in front of a total five million fans.
After more than three decades, AC/DC has sold more than 150 million albums and in the United States 70 million alone, making them one of the five top-selling bands in American music history.