The search is on for an operator for former Sunshine Cafe and Bali Hai bar

Photo mycolourfulpast

The iconic building on Margate seafront, renowned for its neon lighting, is soon to be brought back to life.

Thanet District Council has appointed real estate adviser, GVA, to find an operator for the former Sunshine Cafe building.

The call for operators comes just days after new plans were unveiled for a reimagined Dreamland amusement park, featuring landscaped gardens, contemporary art, restored vintage rides, live music and street food.

In addition to the Sunshine Café, a versatile space on the ground floor known as the ‘Dreamland Bars’, and later famous for being the ‘Bali Hai’ bar, is also available for rent. This floor, which has level access from the seafront, can be run as its own entity or in combination with the café above.

Restoration work, which is part of the second phase of Dreamland led by TDC, is seeing the building transform into an ideal space for a destination restaurant.

Cllr Chris Wells, leader of TDC, said: “This is a next phase of the council’s ongoing work to create jobs and bring the Sunshine Café back to life. In its heyday, this was the premier eating destination on Margate’s seafront, so we’re sure an operator will see its potential. Thanet’s 19% growth in its visitor’s economy last year bucked the national trend so the market is ready for the creation of another first class food destination for the local community and visitors to enjoy.”

Repairs to the building have included restoration of the original seafront elevation windows and the building’s ‘fin’ and brick fascia. A new roof, lift, new external signage and neon lighting are being installed.

New brass hand railings, brass entrance doors, and Venetian plaster work to the ceilings and atrium of the foyer has restored it to its original 1930’s design.

Charlie Ready, senior surveyor at GVA, said: “We are delighted to have been instructed by Thanet District Council to identify and secure proposals from restaurant operators to breathe life back into this iconic seafront building. Margate is currently going through a huge resurgence, attracting visitors from far and wide. The new plans for Dreamland, the thriving creative community and an action packed events calendar all combine to make this a compelling offer.”

It is hoped that the restoration of the Sunshine Café building, as well as the £15m injection of funds recently from offshore company Arrowgrass will boost the park’s fortunes after operator Sands Heritage Ltd went into administration last year and pave the way for further development of the entire Art Deco cinema complex.