Heritage tower demolition applied for

02:49, May 02 2013

The body corporate representing the owners of the Heritage tower in central Christchurch has applied to the High Court to have the building demolished.

George Horsburgh, chairman of the body corporate that looks after the interests of unit titleholders of the rooms in the hotel, said the owners were awaiting a court decision or date that would allow for demolition.

He believed most of the hotel furnishings, such as beds and television sets, had been removed.

There had been a cash settlement with the insurer of the Cathedral Square building, and the body corporate had received a payout.

Individual owners had yet to be paid for their properties as there was still a complicated process to go through to demolish the building and sell the land.

"The body corporate has decided not to repair the tower, and has made an application to the High Court for approval of a scheme which would include demolition of the tower and the sale of the underlying land," Horsburgh said.

The court application was because of the various ownership of the tower under the Unit Titles Act 2010, but it was a relatively routine procedure, he said.

"There are 129 units in the tower, a significant number of separate owners, a separate number of mortgagees, a significant number of other people who may or may not have an interest, and all of those people are required to be served with the court papers and so on," he said.

"It is a process that just takes a bit of time."

A nearby car park with about 161 spaces that was associated with the tower and the nearby Old Government Building, which is working towards a reopening, would not be demolished, Horsburgh said.

It was hoped the High Court would make a decision or hold a hearing, and demolition could start in the next couple of months, he said.

There had been no objections to the plan so far, but the method or timing of a demolition had not been decided.

"We have to demolish the building, sell the land and so forth. That's a relatively complicated exercise because the adjacent car park is part of the same body corporate, and that's being refurbished," he said.

"It needs to be separated off, so it's not the simplest [project].

"I think we're looking probably at least a nine-month [demolition] exercise."

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority said it was in talks with the body corporate on the proposed demolition.

"The discussion includes who manages any demolition and the methodology of any demolition, which Cera must approve," a spokesperson said.


The Press