Retailers make way for demolition
Businesses in an earthquake-prone building in central Blenheim are preparing for it to be demolished in July.
The old building on the corner of Wynen and Market Sts houses a bar and four retail stores and is to be knocked down and replaced with a single-storey building with two retail shops.
The property is owned by Blenheim businessmen Ivan Sutherland and Luke van Velthooven.
Project co-ordinator Geoff Dentice said the date for demolition had been tentatively set for July 3.
"We can confirm the tender process for the demolition and construction of the replacement building will begin this week or the next.
"We hope to have demolition teams on site in the first week of July, for construction to begin in early August, and completed by February next year."
He also confirmed a national tenant had been found for the new building, but could not say who it was.
Of the five businesses in the old building, wedding planners Got It Covered and cafe Zuppa were the only two planning to relocate to other sites in Blenheim to continue operating.
Zuppa owner Louise Kennard said they would be relocating to the former Romeo and Juliet hairdressers' site, nearby in Charles St, in early June.
She had known the building was to be demolished when she bought the business three years ago, she said.
"We always knew this was a temporary thing. All the cabinetry and fixtures have been set up to be easily moved, so everything will be exactly the same.
"We were very lucky to be able to find somewhere close by. It was very important to us that the move had as little impact as possible on our loyal customers."
Sarah Laplanche, of wedding and event planners Got It Covered, said they planned to move to 14 Wynen St early next month.
The owners of Harrington's Bar and Euro Fashions confirmed yesterday they would be closing at the end of June and would not be reopening elsewhere in Blenheim.
Blenheim jeweller Paul Shepherd, who has been operating from the Market St side of the building for 22 years, has decided the time was right to retire and is understood to be closing today.
According to Marlborough District Council files, the original building went up before 1923 and has been added to over the years.
The hotel, formerly known as The Podium, opened in the 1960s and is one of 22 buildings in Blenheim and Picton under notice by the Marlborough District Council to be strengthened to meet earthquake standards or to be demolished.
- The Marlborough Express