Victoria St apartments under demolitionSARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Christchurch Earthquake 2011
Demolition work has begun on Christchurch's earthquake-damaged Victoria Apartment.
The 13-storey Armagh St building is currently being ''soft-stripped'', which means any remaining belongings are removed, as well as furnishings and gibbing.
A Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) spokeswoman said over the next four to six weeks a 250-tonne crawler crane would begin the cut-and-crane process to bring the building down.
It is scheduled to take about 14 weeks.
The building was damaged in the February 2011 earthquake, and its demolition was announced last July.
Demolition company Shilton and Brown are in charge of the process, and the contract was organised directly with the owners.
The Crown purchased the site as a clear piece of land, which is intended to be used for the new convention centre.
Chairman of the body corporate, Mark Abbot, said it would be ''tremendous'' to have the building finally come down.
Some residents were able to go into the building one last time on Tuesday, but it ''wasn't a very pretty sight,'' Abbot said.
In the time the building has been unoccupied, it has been a target for squatters.
Police found 15 squatters in the complex in November. Abbot said the damage inside, including spray-painted graffiti, was extensive.
James Jameson, owner of the St Asaph St Kitchen and Stray Dog Bar, owned an apartment on the third floor of the building. He was one of the residents who went into the building earlier in the week, and said it had been ''devastated''.
In September, Fairfax Media reported that Jameson was struggling to get into the building to retrieve his belongings. He has since been able to retrieve his artwork, but has had to let the rest go.
''I cut those ties a long time ago,'' he said. ''I'll be relieved to see [the building] go.''
Built in 2005, the complex housed 17 apartments. Jameson bought an apartment off the plans, and had lived there since the building opened.
''I thought I had the best apartment,'' he said. ''Victoria Square was my garden. I loved living there.''''It was a beautiful way to live in Christchurch.''
- The Press
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