Rotorua's Valentines Restaurant has gone into liquidation and closed, with the loss of 22 jobs.
However, the owner of the Fenton St building says work is under way to rebuild the premises and open a new restaurant and cafe on the site.
Liquidator Derek Ah Sam, of chartered accountants Rodgers Reidy, said the company that owned the Rotorua franchise went into liquidation and the restaurant closed on February 16. He said 22 employees had lost their jobs.
According to a liquidator's report dated February 23, the business closed due to "the inability to renegotiate a commercially sustainable rental agreement. In addition to this, the company's performance has been declining for a number of years".
Building owner, Rotorua lawyer Richard Charter, said he wanted to make the building more up to date and modern and serve simple Kiwi-style meals with great coffee and reasonable prices.
"I'm just starting to get the roof painted and all the necessaries done like applying for licences. The site deserves more than what it's got there at the moment," Mr Charter said.
He said he did not have a firm timeframe on the redevelopment at this stage.
The New Zealand Companies Office list the directors of Valentines Rotorua as Rotorua's Kake Kautai and Aucklanders Murray Belcher and Geoffrey MacRae, who were trading under the name Restaurant Investments Management Ltd.
"The liquidators are negotiating the extraction of a number of company assets located in the company's leased premises. The liquidators do not have access to the property at present, but have sought legal advice on the matter.
"The liquidators will undertake a full review of all company records and documentation," the liquidator's report stated.
"All employees were terminated by the liquidators upon their appointment. The liquidators are aware of preferential holiday pay claims totalling $14,876.61 to 22 employees."
The company's last financial statement was dated March 31, 2014.
Valentines' national operations manager Andrew Larsen said the company had been in discussions with the landlord but could not come to an agreement.
"We no longer feel it is commercially viable to continue trading.
"All the staff wages and holiday fees were paid in full. There has been no disputes regarding the staff and they all left with a positive outcome," Mr Larsen said.
Facebook feedback on Valentines closure:
* Sad! Always been there since forever. Gutted!
* Very sad for the employees who have lost their jobs. Hope they find jobs quickly.
* Very sad news for the workers.
* Sad for the staff but everytime I drove past I was surprised it was still open.
* Surprised it stayed open so long.
* I have no idea how that place managed to stay afloat for so long as it was
* No wonder they are, it looks the same as it did when I was 10-years-old, how about a re-furb guys? Brighten the place up a bit ? It isn't 1982 anymore.
* Thank you Valentines for all the good times we shared there with family and friends over the years.
* Celebrated few of my late mum's b'day party there, was mean in its prime days. Wish we had known would of gone there for our last kai. Thank you for the many celebrations. Always left there full n happy. Service was awesome.
* I use to like the big bowls of jelly.