Quake-risk Dukes Bar to be razed

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 11:30 14/11/2012
Dukes Bar

Changing landscape: An artist’s impression of the proposed retail building that will replace the earthquake-prone Dukes Bar on Market St, in Blenheim.

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An earthquake-prone bar on Market Pl in Blenheim will be demolished in June.

APL property manager Stephanie Hayes said the Dukes Bar, formerly the Podium Hotel, would be knocked down and replaced with a single-storey building housing two retail shops.

Tenants had not yet been found for the two retail spaces, she said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in July.

The property is owned by Axel 2000 Ltd, owned by two Blenheim businessmen.

The hotel was built in the 1960s and is one of 23 buildings in Blenheim and Picton under notice by the Marlborough District Council to be strengthened to meet earthquake standards or be demolished.

The building, at 59 Market St, is rated at 5 per cent of the national building standard, and the owner has until June to strengthen or demolish it.

Harcourts Marlborough co-owner Aaron Davis said the costs of strengthening were significant, particularly for small business owners.

However, the biggest challenge was the interruption to business while the work was being done.

"Another huge cost for landlords is finding their tenants some place else to run their business.

"But if you don't keep your building up to standards, you won't get the tenants and you'll find it difficult to get insurance."

People looking at buying commercial property were doing their homework and factoring in the cost of earthquake strengthening, he said.

The time was right for landlords to do the work while interest rates were low and there was less competition for labour and materials, he said.

Buildings strengthened this year include the Centre Point Mall and ASB Bank on Market St, SBS Bank on the corner of Market and High streets, Winstanley Kerridge Accountants on Scott St and Marlborough Boys' College.

The Marlborough AMI building on Main St is being strengthened. AMI staff have temporarily re-located to the former Lynfords Furniture building on Scott St while the work is done.

The Building Act 2004 required the council to adopt a policy addressing earthquake-prone buildings.

The policy deems two-storey buildings or taller built before 1977 and rated at less than one third of the new building standard to be earthquake-prone.

Buildings deemed earthquake-prone are given five to 10 years to be strengthened to achieve a seismic capacity greater than one third of the current load code.

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- The Marlborough Express

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