Christchurch’s financially troubled RSA has sold its central Christchurch headquarters and restaurant building for $3.4 million to pay off its debts.
The $5.8m building, featuring the Trenches bar, restaurant and function centre, opened on Armagh St in 2015.
Trenches closed four years later after losing money and failing to attract enough patrons. The venue’s holding company was put into liquidation last year with debts of more than $1m.
The company owed money to the Inland Revenue and other creditors, including the RSA itself.
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RSA president Dennis Mardle said he felt mixed emotions over the sale of the building.
“On a personal level, there is disappointment that, despite my efforts, I was unable to save the investment of thousands of former service men and women,’’ he said.
“That is disappointing, but that is tempered with, not excitement, but a keen interest in how we remodel the business model for the RSA in the future. We have got to get back to our core purpose of serving former service men and women and their families.”
The RSA last year owed $1m to the ANZ bank and $775,000 to its Museum and Support Trust.
It borrowed money from the trust’s insurance payout, which was intended for the repair of its 29 Aranui social housing units.
Mardle, who took over as the RSA’s president last October, said there may be some money left over once the proceeds of the sale were used to cover debts.
“We should come out with a few dollars at the end of it all.
“It will not be huge amounts but enough to satisfy the primary requirement of selling the building, which was to offset the debt.”
He said the Christchurch RSA may not own a building in the future, but long-term decisions would be made once the finances were in better shape.
In May, Mardles said they had no option but to sell.
“We are under significant financial stress, so there is a definite need to sell to be able to alleviate our position.”
The new building on Armagh St replaced a 1920s facility that was damaged in the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.
The new building, which was designed by architects Warren and Mahoney, was partly funded by the sale of the Gloucester St end of the site, which was used for parking.
Read More: Christchurch RSA sells central city building for $3.4 million to cover debts