Auckland’s vacant and viral Queen Street McDonald’s

April 3, 2024

Auckland’s vacant and viral Queen Street McDonald’s

The damaged inside of the McDonalds building at 260 Queen Street. Photo: Raja Bakoor

Auckland's first McDonald's building draws attention as social media videos reveal its vacant state, sparking curiosity.

Originally built in 1884 as head office for the Auckland Savings Bank, the heritage building at 260 Queen Street became the first Auckland McDonalds in 1977.

Due to pandemic-related issues, and constraints with the building, the restaurant closed in late 2020, relocating two doors down at 268 Queen Street, where it operates today.

In June 2023, McDonald’s placed the building, and three surrounding buildings from 256 to 270 Queen Street up for sale.

Real estate agents voiced their hopes of repurposing the building into a hub for hospitality or apartments as reported in a May 2023 article.

Despite this, recent circulation of multiple videos have shown individuals entering the site and have shed light on its current abandoned state.

Ezra Bond, one explorer of the building shared his experience on TikTok and YouTube, garnering over 7,000 views.

Bond says he found an open roller door on Lorne Street with his peers, leading to the familiar McDonald’s restaurant.

“It was just a complete chance” he says.

He described how most of the restaurant was intact, the kitchen, tables, seating, posters, and the Auckland cityscape printed across the wall.

“But it was just filthy, paper towels all over the ground, graffiti, dust everywhere, liquid all over the floor, and shattered glass” he added.

Ezra concluded that the following day, he found the same entrance barricaded, restricting access to the building.

A TikTok video of the site uploaded in late March went viral, gaining over 400,000 views, and almost 40,000 likes.

Raja Bakoor, uploader of the video, and an active ‘Urbex’, urban exploration enthusiast, who recreationally explores abandoned buildings, visited the site multiple times.

During his initial visit in early March, Bakoor found the restaurant space in good condition, but upon returning in late March, discovered extensive damage to the equipment and building.

“I wish they (McDonald’s) would have kept and looked after this one instead of moving into the one next to it which can’t compare to the beautiful architecture and design of the old one” he says.

McDonald’s spokesperson Simon Kenny says the former McDonald’s building remains for sale, despite the listings been taken down after Te Waha Nui’s inquiry with Bayles Real Estate.

On the topic of the social media coverage, Kenny states, “We were made aware of videos recently of illegal entry to the site and have put in place additional security measures.”

As the building remains on the market, attention turns to preserving its heritage, and its future repurposing for community enjoyment.

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