Luck's building sold to Cera
The 190-square-metre site of a heritage building known as Luck's building is the first to be settled as part of the Crown's purchase plan under Christchurch's central city blueprint.
The Venetian Gothic revival-styled building at 751 Colombo St, near the corner of Gloucester St, was knocked down because of damage in the 2011 earthquakes, and the site, along with others, has been earmarked for a convention centre precinct.
The Crown plans to buy 761 properties in the city to allow development projects.
Architect Kerry Mason and wife Rita are the first to receive government settlement money.
Mason and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) confirmed the settlement yesterday, with the former owner saying he was keen for those behind the city rebuild to get on with it.
"We were very keen to be the first vendors to the Crown, seeing the process as an essential part of rebuilding a new vibrant city centre," he said.
The Masons had owned the group 3 heritage building for about seven years and bought it partly because of its strong architectural style.
Library records show it was once part of a much bigger Luck's buildings complex on the northwest corner of Colombo and Gloucester streets, designed by Benjamin Mountfort and built in the 1870s-1880s.
The rest was demolished and replaced by the MFL building in the 1970s but the whole site is now bare.
Prior to the Masons, the three-storey brick building was owned by the Anglican Church.
"It was a lovely little piece of architecture and we wanted it because it was such a special piece," Mason said.
Before the quakes the building's tenants included an internet email business, a graphic design studio and a residential apartment on the top floor. The building had significant earthquake strengthening, including an inserted frame, meaning it almost survived.
"It didn't fall down. We only pulled it down because Cera made us," Mason said.
The loss of the building had not put him off commercial property and the proceeds from the land sale would be put towards other commercial buildings.
Mason said the price, which he could not disclose, was not far below the market value in the pre-earthquake period.
"All I can say is it was a fair price and I think represents very fair market value," Mason said.
Vero had been fair as an insurer, he said.
The Crown has also announced plans to purchase Craigs House in Armagh St and Antony Gough's Poplar Apartments.