Quake hotel goods for sale in Invercargill

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2012

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Millions of dollars of goods from two former premier Christchurch hotels damaged in last year's deadly earthquake are now being sold in Invercargill.

Clearance Centre owner Murray McCleery has expanded his Tyne St store to make room for the items, which came from the Crowne Plaza Hotel and the Hotel Grand Chancellor .

The former high-rise hotels are being demolished after last February's devastating earthquake.

The plush contents that once adorned the buildings are estimated to have a replacement value of millions of dollars.

Mr McCleery also plans to buy the contents of at least three more buildings in the ravaged Christchurch city centre.

"We didn't have enough room in our shop to house the items, so we had to buy the vacant, adjoining building and yard next to it, to store them," he said.

The new building, measuring about 975 square metres, is crammed full of the former hotel's contents, including more than 600 beds, 300 toilet bowls, 300 office chairs, 300 ironing boards, hot-water cylinders, curtains, flat-screen televisions, bedding, towels, fridges, crockery, $30,000 kitchens, cooking equipment, lounge chairs, and bar furnishings.

"This building contains only half of the stuff; we still have four, 12-metre containers to unload," Mr McCleery said. The hotels did not want their furniture to be dumped, he said.

Although he bought everything from the hotels, he was not allowed to sell anything with branding on it.

He had started removing items from the Crowne Plaza Hotel a few days before the December 23 earthquake but was asked to leave the area when the large quake struck.

He returned with 15 staff on January 15 to retrieve the rest of the furniture.

"It was very hard work getting things out of the building. We craned most of it down from the floors and we started some elevators using generators," he said.

It had taken almost three weeks to "clean out" the hotel.

The Crowne Plaza insurance company had put the contents up for tender, which Mr McCleery secured.

To move items from the Crowne Plaza, he got authorisation from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

He bought the contents of the Hotel Grand Chancellor from a Christchurch trader in December.

When he went to inspect the contents of the Grand Chancellor, he found rooms abandoned in haste.

"There was a half-eaten steak on a plate in the restaurant. I could just imagine that person running out in a panic," he said.

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- The Southland Times

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