New CBD building to be demolished

New CBD building to make way for road

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 30/03/2013
westende house
KIRK HARGREAVES
UPS AND DOWNS: The $4m Westende House will be demolished because the space is needed for the widening of Manchester Street.

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The first inner-city building to emerge in post-earthquake Christchurch will be demolished despite the Government suggesting it would remain.

The two-storey Westende House is on the edge of the eastern frame proposed in the Christchurch Central Development Unit plan.

The $4 million building is required to go because Manchester St is to be widened as part of the draft transport plan for central Christchurch.

Shaun Stockman, managing director of KPI Rothschild Property Group which owns the building, said he had received a letter from the CCDU stating its notice of intention to buy the land but had "ignored it".

"We've had a few discussions with [Cera] and they flip-flop on whether we can keep the building or not . . .

"I'm not too sure what's going on really."

Stockman said that at the launch of the CCDU last year Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and CCDU director Warwick Isaacs gave him "verbal reassurances" that the building would remain, despite being on land earmarked for residential development.

"As far as I'm concerned it was agreed with Cera . . . that we would keep Westende House. They told us the property was staying."

Cera has published listings of all the land it intends to acquire for blueprint projects and Westende House is listed.

The site, at 184-188 Manchester St, has a land value of almost $2.3m.

Yesterday, CCDU director Warwick Isaacs said the site had "always been designated" as part of the eastern frame.

"When comments were made by Minister Brownlee and I about the future for the site, it was with the best information available at that time," he said.

The draft transport chapter of the plan now proposed a widening of Manchester St, he said.

"To enable this widening to occur, the Crown will need to purchase the Westende House property and the building on the site will need to be removed."

Isaacs said negotiations between the Crown and the owner of the Westende House property were under way.

The two-storey building was completed last July and houses The IT Team, project management firm RCP and sharebrokers Hamilton Hindin Greene.

It was the site of Westende Jewellers and Alvarados Restaurant but the old building was destroyed in the earthquake on September 4, 2010, and thereafter became the face of the 7.1 magnitude quake.

Westende Jewellers settled in Sydenham in November 2011, while Mexican restaurant Alvarados relocated to Waltham.

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Christchurch property developer Lisle Hood slammed the proposal to demolish the building, saying it was "completely unjustified".

"I mean how stupid can you be? The Westende site was a symbol of the recovery . . . the new building is 130 per cent of the new building code and it's tenanted.

"What's going on in this city at the moment is just unbelievable," he said.

- The Press

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