More than $1m to upgrade now-empty flats

GORDON WILSON FLATS: Evacuated months after a million-dollar upgrade.
GORDON WILSON FLATS: Evacuated months after a million-dollar upgrade.

More than $1 million was spent to repair the interior of a central Wellington block of flats evacuated just months later.

The Housing New Zealand-owned Gordon Wilson building, on The Terrace, was evacuated in May last year after a report showed its concrete facade could fall off in an earthquake, or strong wind.

Documents released to Radio New Zealand under the Official Information Act show HNZ spent $1.5 million on stairwell and roof improvements on the building, home to 130 people, as phase one of a repair project.

It was budgeted to cost $1.3 million but cost $200,000 more due to additional work and consultants' fees.

A second stage of repairs, to the outside, was stopped when the extent of problems with the facade were revealed.

The corporation's asset developments manager Sean Bignell said the spending was necessary because the extent of damage to the outside was not known until the second stage began.

The 1950s building remains empty, with the residents, largely beneficiaries, pensioners and recent migrants, rehoused.

Mr Bignell told RNZ the corporation should make a decision about its future in three months.

A full rebuild was being considered, he said.

Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson told RNZ the site should be rebuilt as a modern social housing development.

The Dominion Post