In February last year the doors to the Valentines restaurant on the corner of Fenton and Amahou streets were closed.

In November the doors will re-open and the community will be welcomed into - wait for it - Valentines.

Auckland business owner Dinesh Kumar has taken on the lease of the building and is proud to be bringing a new and improved version of arguably the country's favourite buffet back to the table.

"I took on the lease four weeks ago and I'm very excited to be opening a restaurant in Rotorua," Mr Kumar said. "I have a lot of friends in Rotorua, I visit here often and I don't even smell the sulphur any more.


"I really love this town and I'm looking forward to being here permanently."

The building is undergoing a refurbishment with the installation of a new kitchen and an interior paint job, while work on the exterior is expected to begin this weekend.

The opportunity to buy the Rotorua franchise came after a chat with one of his Auckland friends.

"A mate of mine has just bought the Valentines national franchise and I was telling him I liked the restaurant concept and would love to open a Valentines myself. He told me there was an opportunity in Rotorua to do just that and, like they say, the rest is history.

"My friend is working hard to rejuvenate Valentines throughout the country. Diners can expect to see improved versions of old favourites but also new dishes added to the buffet."

The corner site was sold to Peter and Tina Pornsirichaivatana who own PTK Holdings nearing the end of last year. The husband and wife duo had plans to renovate the building with a long-term plan to start an "international" food court and bar.

Colliers International commercial broker Matt Gibbard said he was both excited and happy to have someone like Mr Kumar coming to Rotorua.

"Not only does he love the town, he's also looking to employ between 12 and 18 locals within the business, he's also bringing benefit to it," Mr Gibbard said.

"And personally I'm so happy that corner space is going to be filled. It's almost like a gateway to Rotorua and as I've driven past it every day for the past six or seven months, it's almost taunted me.

"I feel really proud we have been able to help breathe life into it again."

The site is on leasehold land owned by the Ngati Whakaue Education Endowment Trust. It is leased in perpetuity and is made up of the building as well as a sealed carpark area - a combined total land area of 1422sq m.