Copthorne Hotel site future up in air

02:54, Jul 10 2013

Demolition of the Copthorne Hotel in central Christchurch has started, but the owners say they are still awaiting a decision on whether they can rebuild on the site.

NZX-listed Millennium & Copthorne Hotels NZ wants to rebuild on the Victoria Square site, but the space has also been earmarked as a potential site for a performing arts precinct.

Today demolition workers were clearing the upper levels of the hotel including throwing television sets out of the open space that was once the wall of one of the rooms.

Managing director BK Chiu said there would probably be another six or eight weeks of demolition on the site, but whether a rebuild would take place was still out of the company's control.

Rebuild authorities have proposed a performing arts precinct for the area now occupied by the hotel and other buildings.

But whether Christchurch City Council places financial rebuild funds back into the exiting town hall is one factor that will influence the arts centre project.

Chiu said nothing much had changed for Millennium & Copthorne, but it still wanted to rebuild on the site. The carpark on the property had already been demolished.

The company had been in talks with rebuild officials about the central city blueprints but there had been no final approach to buy the land.

Meanwhile the hotel chain's potential multimillion-dollar project to repair the separate Millennium Hotel Christchurch in Cathedral Square remains on hold.

The uninhabited hotel has been assessed as "repairable" by engineers following earthquake damage in 2011, and it has been the subject of talks between the building's Japanese owner and its insurers.

Chiu has said when work eventually started it would take two years before the hotel could take guests.