'Good home' wanted for Shand's Emporium

Shand's Emporium may be on the move

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 30/08/2012
Historic Shand’s Emporium
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
ON THE MOVE? Historic Shand’s Emporium in Hereford St, could soon be relocated to a new central Christchurch site.

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One of the oldest buildings in central Christchurch may be on the move.

The historic Shand's Emporium in Hereford St, built in 1860, has survived the Canterbury earthquakes.

The building's owner, Canterbury rich-lister Antony Gough, plans to give it away to a retailer on the promise they will restore it on a new central-city site.

Gough said he wanted to give the building a new life.

"The easiest thing to do is what the insurance company wants and put a bulldozer through it, but we think it's an important part of our history," he said.

"We are not looking for any money for the place. We are just looking for a good home and someone who can look after it."

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust is concerned that earthquake damage to the building has left it open to the elements. Gough rejected a $6000 funding offer from the trust to help weatherproof and stabilise the building.

Southern manager Rob Hall said the trust had concerns for the building.

"I think more could be done and we have offered help. It doesn't appear to be adequately weatherproofed," he said.

Gough said he declined the funding because there were too many conditions attached.

"They wanted too many controls. They said we will put some money towards it, but you will do everything we say on our terms," he said.

"It was a gift with clawbacks. We want the freedom to decide the best for the house rather than be told by the trust."

He said it would be better to restore the building once it had been moved. "Weather does get into the building, but we are hoping to achieve something quite quickly. We would be better to do all the work it needs at once."

Gough would not reveal the retailer interested in taking the building, but said it was an established Christchurch business.

Shand's Emporium has the most significant heritage listing possible on the trust's register. It is one of the oldest commercial buildings in the city centre and one of few surviving buildings from early colonial days.

The trust's listing describes it "a rare example of early commercial timber architecture in Christchurch". It was originally an office building but was refurbished in 1977 for several small shops.

The building was saved from demolition in the early 1980s after a petition against plans to build a new telephone exchange on the site.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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