Wellington City Council's civic administration building could be knocked down

Wellington City Council's six-storey civic administration building has been closed since November's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
COLLETTE DEVLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington City Council's six-storey civic administration building has been closed since November's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Wellington City Council needs to make a decision in coming months as to whether it repairs its civic administration building or demolishes it. 

The six-storey pink building on Civic Square, built in the early 1990s, has been closed since the 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake last November. 

On Monday, council spokesman Richard MacLean said the cost of the various options facing the council would be an important deciding factor. 

Exploratory work to work out how the Town Hall's new foundations will be designed will begin this week.
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Exploratory work to work out how the Town Hall's new foundations will be designed will begin this week.

A decision on the long-term future of the building would not be made for some months. 

READ MORE:
Details of Wellington Town Hall's $58m-plus rebuild revealed
Seven years of silence: Wellington Town Hall unlikely to open before 2020
How can Wellington inject a bit more life into Civic Square?
Wellington Town Hall music hub plan gets nod from council
Wellington Town Hall will not reopen until strengthened, council says

In the meantime, temporary props are being installed to allow some access into the building, so equipment can be retrieved from the building by a relocation company.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester in the Wellington Town Hall, behind him the hole left by the massive 4000 pipe organ that ...
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester in the Wellington Town Hall, behind him the hole left by the massive 4000 pipe organ that was removed for renovation.

"We're having a conversation about what's the logical next step," Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said on Monday afternoon.

Any prediction on the likelihood of the building being bowled would be "just guesswork" for now.

"Essentially it sits with our insurers."

The propping would be installed of all levels of the building, including under the walkway in front of the building on Wakefield St, council chief executive Kevin Lavery said.

Ad Feedback

The civic administration building was on a list of about 80 buildings around the city that needed to have invasive testing by engineers following the Kaikoura quake. The council has previously stated it would not release engineering reports for the building. 

Meanwhile, the first steps towards strengthening the nearby Town Hall are to get under way this week. 

Exploratory ground testing will involve lifting paving on Wakefield St and the walkway between the hall and the Michael Fowler Centre, allowing a jet vacuum "sucker" truck to remove earth, revealing vital services and cabling. 

From there, probes, bores and other test equipment will be put down to check ground conditions, which should help guide the design of the building's new foundations.

The Town Hall has been closed since 2013 due to the risk it posed in an earthquake. It's thought to meet somewhere between 20 and 25 per cent of the new building code.

Documents released last month revealed work was unlikely to start on strengthening and refitting the hall until next year, and would cost nearly $60 million.

Wellington City Council, Victoria University and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra are still working through negotiations for a proposed national music centre based in the civic precinct, with a final decision expected to be made in the coming weeks.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback