Time running out for historic building
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 6:21p.m.
By Annabelle Tukia
There's disappointment and anger in Christchurch at the failure of a last-ditch effort to save one of the city's few remaining historic buildings.
The Cranmer Court complex was badly damaged in the quakes, and its owners were banking on an Australian investor to save the day. But now they too have walked away.
The building bares the scars of more than 10,000 earthquakes and aftershocks and its facade is battered and broken, but the residents and heritage campaigners still hoped it could be saved.
The former Teachers College is made up of 31 individual apartments, but all the owners could afford was the $1 million needed to stabilise the building.
Their last hope came from a potential Australian buyer who planned to restore the complex before he withdrew his offer at the last moment.
“It would have meant people that live here would have had enough money to go and buy new homes somewhere else. It would have meant Christchurch would have had that facade forever and it would have meant some new vitality would have been brought into this area of the city,” says David Chalmers, of Cranmer Court's body corporate.
Because the building is deemed dangerous by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), demolition will begin next week, and Kristin Holliss' home will be amongst those torn down.
“I will miss the architectural integrity of the building and living in a part of history that’s been wonderfully converted into a practical space,” says Ms Holliss.
But University of Canterbury historian Ian Lochhead says he'd like to see the building given a longer stay of execution.
“I'm sure that if CERA could simply put a secure fence around it and give the building some time that a new proposal would come forward perhaps with different engineering solutions,” says Dr Lochhead.
But time and solutions are two things the 140-year-old building is fast running out of.
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4/10/2012 11:42:07 p.m.
Ian Goldsmith wrote:
Why not wait and see if the publicity brings the needed money forward? Those who are engaged in the tear down operation should wait and see what offers come forward now that everyone knows about it. The building is important. Has there been a public appeal?
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