Developer 'forced' to destroy house
A Palmerston North property developer says it still feels "ridiculous" that he has to demolish a landmark central city home, but he has no alternative.
The risk of an earthquake flattening 76 Pascal St, a home built by the All Saints' Children's Home Trust in 1931, has forced current owner Brian Green Properties to call in the diggers.
Work began last Monday and the cracked shell of the house proved more than a curiosity for Pascal St passers-by over the weekend.
"Because of the fact that it is an old building, if I wanted to do anything with it I would need to strengthen it, and the way it is, that is just totally uneconomic," Green said.
"If they didn't have all these silly rules, it wouldn't have to go. It seems ridiculous to me that a building can stand since the 1930s and never suffer any damage and then all of a sudden it's unliveable.
"If it was that bad it would have come down already."
The demolition closes the chapter on a house with a varied and colourful history.
It was home for children in the city who were orphaned, destitute or otherwise unable to be cared for within their own families, up until 1964.
Changing attitudes towards that form of care saw more children placed in foster homes and the remaining children shifted into a smaller family home in Ngaio St.
It was then bought by the Catholic Church and was used as a convent by the Sisters of Our Lady of Lourdes.
It was sold again in 1974 to the Open Brethren Queen St Chapel and used as private rental accommodation.
Green purchased the house and accompanying land in 1998, subdividing the land to create the Arena Lodge next door.
He said plans for 76 Pascal St post-demolition were still being decided on, but at the moment it was likely there would be a retirement home built on the land.