Hotel plan for Forsyth Barr building

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 15:53 31/05/2013

The fate of the Forsyth Barr building in central Christchurch could be decided by the end of June, with the owners considering turning the office tower into a hotel.

The 18-storey building was damaged in the February 2011 earthquake when staircases collapsed, trapping people on upper floors.

A director of the company that owns the building, Peter Rae, said the long wait for a decision on demolishing or repairing the building was ''extremely frustrating''.

''The final numbers are being thrashed around between the engineers, [quantity surveyors] and loss adjusters and now the insurer. We should have a pretty strong indication about what we need to do by the end of June,'' he said.

They were considering converting the building into a hotel if repair was the preferred option, he said.

''A hotel is one option we've looked at, mainly because of the building's location,'' he said.

Demolition would take ''a few months'', he said, but repairing the building would take about a year.

Christchurch Central Development Unit director Warwick Isaacs said that if the building was demolished it would be the last major building to come down in the central city.

If the building is demolished it will leave the Rendezvous Hotel as the only tall building in the city centre.

The Christchurch skyline has been transformed by the Canterbury quakes, as our two pictures illustrate. One was taken in 1997 and the other in 2013.

There is snow on the Port Hills in both images, but much else has changed.

The Hotel Grand Chancellor, the PricewaterhouseCoopers office building, the BNZ Building, the Newstalk ZB building and Manchester Courts have been demolished, opening up new views of the Port Hills.

- The Press

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