Harcourts demo request turned down

23:48, Feb 24 2013
Harcourt building
STAYING PUT: The Harcourts building on Lambton Quay has too much heritage to be knocked down, commissioners say.

An application to demolish the earthquake-prone heritage-listed Harcourts building on Lambton Quay has been turned down.

A panel set up by Wellington City Council, which considered the application by the building's owner Mark Dunajtschik, said demolition would result in a significant loss of heritage.

They said the applicant had not considered every reasonable alternative solution for retaining the building, including the possibility of strengthening it to less than 100 per cent of new building standard.

Demolition would be inconsistent with regional historic heritage policy, the commissioners said in their decision released today.

They said it was a difficult decision because of the significant issues raised.

''On the one hand there are important matters of historic heritage and on the other important matters of public safety and costs.''

The 85-year-old Chicago-style building opposite Cable Car Lane, which was built in 1928 for T & G Insurance, has a category one heritage listing.

The steel-framed building has an ornate masonry facade and council has described it as a crucial element in the Lambton Quay streetscape.

However council planners last year agreed it was  a risk to public safety and  recommended Mr Dunajtschik be granted consent to demolish it.

Mr Dunajtschik wants to put up a 25-storey building on the site to match the adjoining HSBC Tower, which he also owns..

It was estimated to cost nearly $11m to strengthen the building and Mr Dunajtschik argued that doing that work would not be economically viable.

Contact Hank Schouten
Property reporter
Email: hank.schouten@dompost.co.nz

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