The prominent Town Basin building that housed the Love Mussel restaurant has a new leasee and will reopen under a new restaurant concept.
Owners Craig Woods and Sandra McLean-Woods said it was always their two-year plan to look at selling their "vibrant and stylish" restaurant and wine and tapas bar, albeit the sale having been negotiated sooner than they had anticipated.
"We loved creating this restaurant from scratch and seeing where it would take us," said Sandra McLean-Woods.
"It was a big risk to take as the site had been vacant for three years prior to us purchasing it, but that has paved the way for others to follow as we look forward to new challenges and a bit more relaxation," Mr Woods said.
The two-storey original floor plan had a large hole in the central second floor that prevented the restaurant operating to its full potential, but with new internal flooring and an elevator added "it was a great selling point", Ms Woods said.
"We have many fond memories and have been supported by a great kitchen and front of house team whom we acknowledge, as their efforts have rewarded us with many fabulous functions, including the former Prime Minister John Key and current PM Bill English."
Lloyd Rooney and Michael Fraser are delighted to be the new purchasers of the property.
Mr Rooney and Mr Fraser also own the adjacent Town Basin restaurant, The Quay. They have announced a 1920's Raffles Singapore style Asian-fusion concept for the site, the fourth in their restaurant chain, and will trade under the new name No. 8
The name is derived from the building shop address at the popular waterside location, a lucky Chinese number and the "number 8 wire" Kiwi can-do attitude, Mr Rooney said.
"Craig and Sandra are great operators and we wanted to ensure that our current investment in the Town Basin wouldn't be compromised and any new restaurant would maintain the same vibe, so it just made sense for us to buy it," Mr Rooney said.
The restaurant will trade during the upcoming Lions Tour before a refurbishment "close down" period.
■ A May 11 Northern Advocate headline stated "Love Mussel set to limp off". The Advocate apologises for any inference that the business was closing due to poor financial performance.