Thursday, April 14, 2016

Heritage Facade Demolished

The remains of Christchurch's old Excelsior Hotel were demolished last weekend.
The 1880s central city hotel was wrecked in Canterbury's earthquakes, and most of the building was demolished soon after, except the western facade.
The Christchurch Heritage Trust bought the building in 2011, with plans to dismantle the facade and reuse it in a new building. At the time, the trust described demolition as "unthinkable".
Since then, the facade has stood on Manchester St., forlornly propped up by a wall of shipping containers.
At the time of the earthquakes, the original Excelsior had a category one heritage listing and housed a restaurant, bar, and backpackers. But Christchurch Heritage Trust chairman Anna Crighton says there was not enough heritage left after the Feb.2011 EQ for the Excelsior Hotel to still be considered a "heritage building".
She says the demolition went through all the proper processes, with approval from both Heritage NZ and the Christchurch City Council.
Property development company Canterbury Property Investments (CPI) plan to rebuild the hotel with a replica facade. Crighton: "A lot of people remember that hotel with great affection, and it's better that a replica hotel is built rather than having a glass box there."
Initial estimates suggest the Excelsior project would cost $10 million.
Downstairs would be boutique retail and hospitality tenants. The upper levels would be used for accommodation.
Construction could start at the beginning of 2017, but a date has not yet been set for completion. 

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