Building on Wellington's Molesworth St being torn down
The demolition of the quake-damaged building at 61 Molesworth St has begun, with others around the Wellington region also set to be torn down.
The nine-storey building in central Wellington was condemned following the November 14 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
Heavy machinery, including a long-reach digger, were moved in and started the demolition on Monday morning.
The first steps include the small details, such as removing electrical wiring and asbestos. The former Deloitte House was closed on November 15 due to fears the building was at risk of imminent collapse.
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After high winds halted the start of the demolition on Sunday, work began at 7am on Monday on the Moleworth St frontage.
Drivers are working in shifts using the Go Pro camera equipped periscopic crane with about a quarter of the frontage gone by 10am.
Abby Hammond is a manager of Cellar-Vate cafe, which sits just outside the cordon.
Hammond said business in the cafe had boomed since the earthquake as cafes in the cordon were closed.
"It's really increased our business quite significantly and we've also had quite a few nosy people coming in here."
Part of the massive Queensgate mall in Lower Hutt, including hundreds of carparks and the Event Cinemas movie complex, are also set to be demolished this week. Dozens of stores in the mall, un affected by the quake, opened on Friday.
The Molesworth St building caused the evacuations of neighbouring premises, including the Red Cross, the National Library and the Thai Embassy. The National Library reopened on Monday.
The building has asbestos in it, a hazardous material that poses a serious health risk if inhaled. The Wellington City Council has said the asbestos is "contained".
Last week building owners Primeproperty accepted it should not have allowed a family to live there.
In a statement released on Primeproperty said it was motivated "purely by trying to help the family".
The Mape family, from the Philippines, initially wanted to rent a home in Murphy St, Thorndon. But Primeproperty said in its statement they could not do so because the property had "suffered water damage during a heavy storm on May 30, 2016".