Business owners at Auckland's Elliot Stables dining village say many of the eateries may not survive the coronavirus pandemic without help from Auckland Council or a rent reprieve from their landlord.

Owners of eateries who spoke to the Herald claim their landlord The Icon Group is asking for full rent over the lockdown period unless they extend their leases for five years or more.

Many said they were already struggling from the impact of the City Rail Link construction works, and the Covid-19 outbreak had landed them the "killer blow".

Besos Latinos' owner Luis Cabrebra says coronavirus has landed eatery owners there a killer blow. Photo / Dean Purcell
Besos Latinos' owner Luis Cabrebra says coronavirus has landed eatery owners there a killer blow. Photo / Dean Purcell

The eateries - Besos Latinos, Burg'z Burgers, The Seafood Kitchen, Big Little Grill, De Niro, Ela Cuisine, Home Cooked, Le Paris French Eatery and Reslau want a break from their rents for three months from The Icon Group and subsidies from the council.


"Restaurant and cafe owners are getting ready to open when the country gets to level 2, possibly next week, but we really don't know what the future holds for us," Besos Latinos owner Luis Cabrera said.

"All of us are migrant owners and for many the business here is our only way of feeding ourselves and our families. The coronavirus have landed many of us a killer blow and without some form of help, we won't survive."

Covid 19 coronavirus: Two new cases today - both linked to St Margaret's
Covid 19 coronavirus: The gagging order from Jacinda Ardern's office - cynical, arrogant and unnecessary
Covid 19 coronavirus: Why are Australians not catching virus at hairdressers or supermarket?
Covid 19 coronavirus: Police worry there will be mayhem on the streets at alert level 2

Some businesses have already received notice to cancel their lease for not paying rent and operating costs for April amounting to about $20,000 each.

George Panicker George said he might have to let his business Ela Cuisine go after another eatery The Paddock has also closed.

George, who also owns Reslau, said operating the eateries were no longer financially viable.

Subscribe to Premium

"For the past five years we were affected by Albert St works, now the entry to Elliot St is more affected with Wellesley St works," George said.

"Foot traffic is severely affected and Uber Eats drivers are also choosing not to use Elliot St because of driver delays through this street."


Shaleen Reubin, of Burg'z Burgers, said she could not sign a further six- or seven-year lease because sales had halved even before the Covid-19 outbreak while rents kept going up.

More than 40 staff are employed by Elliot Stables businesses and many are receiving the wage subsidy.

Cabrera said the businesses had written to MPs, the Prime Minister and ministers asking them to reconsider rent subsidies.

The Government is considering rent concessions to ease the burden from Covid-19 on small businesses but has ruled out rent subsidies or freezes.

The Icon Group has been approached for a response. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Auckland Council chief executive Stephen Town said the council felt "acutely" the struggle many Auckland households and businesses are facing.

Town said leading a strong recovery was one of the council's top priorities right now.

"Our councillors are unanimous that we need to take decisive steps to reduce pressure on residents and businesses facing hardship, while maintaining the essential services Aucklanders rely on, and supporting recovery.

"On top of the Government's range of assistance packages for business, last month council agreed on a suite of measures to immediately offer some support to all ratepayers, including businesses, facing hardship due to the crisis."

These included offering all ratepayers the opportunity to defer or break down rates, waiving accommodation provider targeted rates and relaxing some restrictions for food establishments so they could be better placed to operate contactless pick-ups.

"From the end of May, we will be asking Aucklanders for feedback on the council's proposed emergency budget for the coming financial year, and this specifically includes more help for business ratepayers," Town said.

"Businesses which don't have a takeaway or delivery service within their pre-existing food safety requirements are encouraged to contact the council, and we'll work with them on a solution."

Town said even before Covid-19, City Rail Link Ltd regularly provided works information to the Elliott Stables manager, as well as the owner of the property.

"While it has no works at all on Elliot Street, there are mitigations in place."

He said there were plenty of loading space for Uber Eats on Wellesley St from Queen St up to the closure, and adjustments of Victoria St traffic light phasing and signage to optimise flows into Elliot St.

"We'd like to again encourage businesses, including those in Elliot Stables, who need assistance to contact us, and to make use of the wide range of help offered by central and local government."