Copthorne Hotel demolition under way

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 14:36 10/07/2013
Copthorne Hotel demolition
Iain McGregor

CLEARANCE: Demolition of the Copthorne Hotel includes throwing television sets from an eighth-floor room.

Copthorne Hotel demolition
Iain McGregor
AND THERE'S MORE: Even the toilet roll has to go.

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Demolition of the Copthorne Hotel in Victoria Square has begun, but the owners still do not know whether they can rebuild on the site.

NZX-listed Millennium & Copthorne Hotels NZ wants to rebuild on the same site, but the space has been earmarked as a potential site for a performing arts precinct.

Demolition workers were today clearing the upper levels of the 10-storey, 142-room hotel, including throwing television sets out of the open space that was once the wall of one of the rooms within the building.

Managing director BK Chiu said there would probably be another six or eight weeks of demolition, but whether a rebuild would take place was still out of the company's control.

Rebuild authorities have proposed that a performing arts precinct be built on and around the area now occupied by the hotel and other buildings.

Whether the Christchurch City Council places financial rebuild funds into the Town Hall is one factor that will influence what shape the precinct takes.

Chiu said the car park on the property had already been demolished. ''It will probably be another six to eight weeks before the whole thing is done.''

The company had been in talks with rebuild officials about the central-city blueprint plans, but there had been no final approach by the officials to buy the land.

Meanwhile, the hotel chain's potential multimillion-dollar project to repair the Millennium Hotel Christchurch in Cathedral Square remains on hold.

The hotel chain says the uninhabited hotel has been assessed as ''repairable'' by engineers  after quake damage in 2011.

While the hotel is repairable, the high rise has been the subject of talks between the building's Japanese owner and its insurers.

Chiu has said that when work started it would take two years of repair work to enable the hotel to be able to take guests.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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