Abandoned police station to be demolished

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 11:43 07/04/2014
Hereford St police station
Kirk Hargreaves/Fairfax NZ
COMING DOWN: The former Christchurch police station building on Hereford St has been abandoned after staff refused to work in the building due to quake concerns.

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The former Christchurch police station building will be demolished. 

Tony Sewell, chief executive of Ngai Tahu Property that owns the building, said the Hereford St building would be coming down after ''just reaching a final agreement'' with its insurer.

The company has recently advertised for expressions of interest from ''suitably qualified and experienced contractors''.

Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers had been appointed to manage the demolition of the 13-storey building. 

Sewell said early planning work about the future use of the site was under way, but no decisions had been made. 

Expressions of interest close on April 11 and successful contractors will be shortlisted and asked to participate in the tender process. 

At the end of 2011, South Island Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff confirmed that about 400 staff would be moved out of the 40-year-old building.

The shift was a "precautionary approach", he said, prompted by doubts over the building's ability to remain fully functioning should another major earthquake hit.

After the February 2011 earthquake, sources told The Press that some staff were refusing to work in the building because of quake concerns.

It was claimed some staff were taking leave, early retirement or working out of other stations.

Last year a multimillion-dollar rent claim against police by Ngai Tahu was settled in a confidential deal.

When police moved out of the building, they terminated the lease which was to run to June, 2017.

A business unit of Ngai Tahu filed High Court proceedings in 2012 claiming nearly five years' rent for the abandoned building.

The court suspended the case so that arbitration could be pursued.

A police spokesman said police and Ngai Tahu had agreed to end the lease "on mutually satisfactory terms" without the need for arbitration. 

''The agreement is consistent with the very good relationship that exists between police and Ngai Tahu,'' he said.

Christchurch police moved to their new $20 million single-storey temporary station in St Asaph St last year.

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