Reading Cinemas car park demolition to begin on January 4 and finish in March
Demolition of Wellington's Reading Cinemas car park, damaged in the November 14 earthquake, will begin on the first working day of the new year.
Scaffolding will begin to be torn off the side of the car park this weekend, then "a big grunty machine will turn up on January 4 and start taking chunks out of the side of the building", Phil Becker, of Wellington City Council, said.
The demolition is expected to last until the end of March, as the deconstruction was "pretty complex".
"You have got to take hundreds and thousands of bits of concrete out without damaging anything else around it."
* Demolition plan leaves cars trapped - and a fish dinner sitting on the kitchen bench
* Wellington City Council confirms Reading car park will be demolished
* Housing NZ staff evacuated, Reading Cinema car park still closed after quake
* Earthquake: Car parks at a premium
Nine cars are trapped inside the building, and will be destroyed along with it, because it is considered unsafe to retrieve them.
Some insurance companies have told the owners that they will not pay out until the building is flattened.
Nine of the car park's 11 support column structurally failed in the earthquake, Becker said. "The building's knackered."
The machine being used to demolish 61 Molesworth St will assist in tearing apart the building, Becker said.
There will be some clearing of materials, "then Reading will need to make a decision around what they will do with it".
Cordons would be reassessed as the work continued, Becker said.
Residents from surrounding evacuated buildings were escorted inside by the fire department on Thursday to retrieve clothes and personal items.
Brittany Godderidge told RNZ she was pleased to find her 2-year-old goldfish, Sir Swimsalot, alive, despite the fact he hadn't been fed for four weeks.
The tank was green, slimy and smelly, but she managed to get her pet out alive.
"When we first got evacuated, we only got told it was going to be two days, so we grabbed small things for only two days and then the next day we were told two weeks, and then it was four weeks. Now it's an extra three months."
QUEENSGATE DEMOLITION ON TRACK
Meanwhile, demolition of the quake-affected building at Queensgate Shopping Centre in Lower Hutt is expected to last until the end of February 2017, property managers have said.
This was in line with initial predictions, Peter Alexander of centre managers Stride Investment, said.
Progress was subject to the weather, among other things beyond the control of contractors Naylor Love, but good progress had been since demolition efforts began on December 5.
After the demolition, work will begin on recladding and fire exits to allow the centre to reopen.
All going to plan, retailers should be able to at the end of March.