Clarendon must go

Last updated 12:52 13/06/2011
Clarendon Tower
DANGEROUS NEIGHBOUR: Clarendon Tower poses a threat to neighbouring buildings and its demolition has been ordered by Cera.

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Earthquake authorities say the 17-storey Clarendon Tower must be demolished.

The Clarendon Tower has been one of the most problematic tower blocks in the central city, with its risk of collapse posing a threat to dozens of surrounding buildings.

On February 22, the day of the devastating quake, dozens of tenants - many of them lawyers and law firm staff - were trapped in the building for several hours after internal stairways collapsed. Several were only rescued at 1am the following day.

The 5.5-magnitude aftershock on June 6 has caused "further significant structural damage", according to a report by construction firm Hawkins.

In an email sent to tenants this morning, the Clarendon's property manager, Mark Youthed, said the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) had ordered the building be demolished.

"Cera have determined the building as dangerous and have issued a notice to the landlord advising that the building needs to be demolished," wrote Youthed.

However, Youthed said the owners would not comment on its reponse to this order.

"The landlord has an obligation to its insurer not to take any steps to prejudice the insurer's position. Therefore, until the insurer has completed its own investigations the landlord is not in a position to make any comments at this stage on the Cera notice."

The Clarendon had been gradually stablising the tower to allow access to tenants. But the process was scheduled to take 10 months, prompting a call from Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Youthed told The Press in May that Brownlee had ordered the Clarendon to "get on with it". Brownlee said a 10-month stabilisation process would impede plans to open up the City Mall before Cup and Show Week in November.

"It was a bit of a veiled threat, but I understand that. We don't want to be holding things up either," said Youthed.

Youthed said stabilisation work would continue as planned. This included driving rods horizontally through the building to remove the risk of collapse.

The intention was to give tenants access to retrieve items, in particular legal files and wills.

Tenants have been invited to a meeting at 11am on Thursday at The George.

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- The Press

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