Owners unhappy with plans to take building

'This is a dictatorship we're living in'

MICHAEL BERRY
Last updated 05:00 02/08/2012
NG Gallery
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ

FUTURE UNKNOWN: The building that houses the NG Gallery was one of the first to reopen in CBD after the earthquakes.

Sharon Ng, Roland Logan
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ
UNDER CLOUD: Ng building owners Sharon Ng and Roland Logan say their historic Madras St building should not be sacrificed for the city’s rebirth.

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The Government has done nothing to rebuild Christchurch but has instead razed broken property and is threatening to demolish good buildings, a co-owner of the Ng building in Madras St says.

The historic Ng building, which houses design business Ng Design and eight other businesses, including two art galleries, was one of the first central-city buildings to reopen after the earthquakes.

But in the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) blueprint, the Ng building - along with three city blocks surrounding it - is earmarked for a 35,000-seat covered stadium.

The Government has said it will buy the land from willing sellers or take it from them under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act.

Owners Sharon Ng and Roland Logan built on strengthening work done before the September 2010 quake and reopened the former Victorian warehouse last September.

Logan said they had done everything to get open, only to now be slapped in the face.

"This is a dictatorship we're living in. They should be celebrating what we've been doing, not trying to put roadblocks in our way all the time."

They had built a vibrant community that employed 30 people in the building, with no money from insurers or the Government, he said.

"We have a passion for this building. It's not about money,'' he said.

''We put life into this building and created a wonderful atmosphere. We've been a beacon of what can be achieved if you roll up your sleeves and get stuck in and do it."

Meanwhile, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority had busied itself knocking down buildings, he said.

The Re:Start mall in Cashel St had been spearheaded by the private sector, as had other recovery efforts that involved building rather than demolition, Logan said.

"We're the ones rebuilding this city,'' he said. ''The authorities have done nothing so far except demolish things."

He believed the stadium was too close to the city, which would discourage people living in the area, and existing roads and car parks were insufficient to support it.

"I have serious doubts about whether this plan will be implemented as it's seen today," he said.

Since the announcement, Ng and Logan had received thousands of messages of support for the Ng building.

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