Demolition plans are moving ahead for the former Artery building in Nelson's New St.
As they do, questions are being raised about the fate of the mosaic face of the building.
The Nelson City Council, which owns the building, has factored into the contract a plan to salvage and relocate the large sculpture.
The three-dimensional heart and star-shaped artwork which forms the building's facade, known latterly as The Hub, was created by the hands of about 700 volunteers, guided by former Nelson artist and "mosaic maestro" Valeska Campion.
The building is to be demolished because of its poor seismic strength rating, and the risk that presents to users of the building which for a long time has been a community and youth centre.
The council recently called for tenders for the demolition of the building on the corner of New St and Halstead St.
The demolition contract will involve the salvaging of materials, and the full demolition and removal of the building.
A separate part of the tender includes the removal and relocation of two artwork mosaic panels either side of the main entrance.
Arts Council Nelson director Lloyd Harwood said yesterday the arts council was involved in the project's creation, and recalled the large community involvement.
He said it was up to the city council if it wanted to spend money on salvaging it, but if it could not be saved then perhaps elements could be used elsewhere such as the planned Buxton Square toilet block upgrade.
The psychedelic facade, entitled Eat Your Art Out, which cost around $30,000 and was funded with help from the Creative Communities scheme, was unveiled in 1999 amid comments from councillors of the day that it was "sure to become a Nelson icon".
A cross-section of the community worked on the facade, including primary school children on school holiday programmes, people on intellectual disability programmes, community wage workers, tourists, and even a Wellington lawyer who took a week off work to contribute.
Each part of the facade was made by twisting iron poles together into the desired shape, covering them with chicken wire and concrete, and decorating the surface with tiles.
A resource consent and engineering advice were needed to get the artwork on the wall.
The council plans to use the site to create a new car park.
Mr Harwood said it would be nice if the facade could be kept where it is, and moving it was possible depending on the cost.
"Anything is possible if you have the money, but the issue for the city council will be if they are prepared to throw money at moving it.
"I know Valeska is keen for it to be kept where it is because it took a while and big effort to build, but if it can't be saved then elements of it could be," Mr Harwood said.
Tenders for the demolition and removal contracts close on Thursday, October 31.
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