High Street makes some progress…

Whats new in High Street?

Much to our astonishment and delight we have progress in High Street.

  • The building owner next door, on the North side, has finally put his building up for auction. The figure it sold for was double what I considered reasonable considering the repairs needed. ( I was badly wrong!)

It took 7.5 years to get to this stage.  One can not help wonder if the “Powers that be” can not find a better way to deal with these issues.  But that is another story that they are not listening too.

I have done a rough cost estimate of how much it has cost the economy to keep our street closed for the last 7.5 years.  I estimate the loss of turnover of the approximately 16 shops in our units plus residential and offices on the second floor, to be about $15,000,000 per year.   Multiply x 7.5 years= $112,500,000.  Simplistic and inaccurate maths I know.  But that is $112,000,000 plus that has not flowed back into the Christchurch economy for 7 plus years.  Then add into that, the closure of at least 6-7 businesses that did not reopen following the closure of the street, us included,  the loss of equipment, infrastructure and skills, wages etc.   At a very rough guess I would round that figure up to $120,000,000.

The question that has to be asked is?  Why did the powers that be not calculate this figure themselves and make an effort to get repairs under way in this street sooner?

I am not sure that I will ever know the answer.


141 High Street has a new owner.


Hopefully our side wall gets sorted out now.

The new owner has plans to reinstate the building, turning the upstairs into an inner city apartment and the ground floor into retail space.  It will take him about 8-10 months if he really gets moving.

So we have another year to wait before this neighbour is sorted.

  • We also have a wait for the south side owner, but we now have a lovely clear site on our boundary!  Now covered in gravel.  The new plans are at Engineering stage.


  • The Consortium group has started the foundation pour on the North side units. Hoping to be finished by December.

Foundations under way for 8 new Duncan’s Units

  • The “only” fly in the ointment is the Ace Video Building at 130 High Street, that is still on the “Dirty 30” list. The lack of progress with this building defies belief.

Ace Video building at 130 High Street, unrepaired after 7.5 years. At approx 27% NBS ? It make no sense to me at all.

So here we are 7.5 years later, in a closed off street, watching the grass grow.  Be very afraid, this could happen to you Wellington. Hopefully the Powers have learnt what not to do, but I doubt it!

Ho Hum , it’s a lovely day, I am an unemployed bum and I am off to check my possum traps.  Only had 50 so far this year.  Predator Free Port Hills is still a long way off!





Christchurch City Council Building Compliance issues…. again

What is new in Lower High St?

  • We are having issues with the CCC regarding our Code of Compliance.  No,  it is not Structural, or Fire safety, or public safety….  that is too obvious!   CCC Building Consents are refusing to sign off because our Design Engineer, who is slowly retiring, has not renewed His IPENZ registration  (Engineering Society).  As a result of this they are refusing to accept his PS4. (Producer Statement). But Compliance says that the Design Engineer must sign the COC????   Make up your mind guys….

CCC Consents wants us to get the whole 7 years worth of project peer-reviewed by another Engineer.  There are 2 problems with this:  no Engineer in his right mind would review 7 years of paper work  for a “un-reinforced masonry building” and secondly no Engineer in his right mind would sign off on such a building without having inspected all the steel earthquake strengthening columns that are now hidden behind gib,  let alone covered in concrete!

None of this surprises me, as CCC Building Consents have been “difficult” (polite use of words I might add…) to deal with for 7 years, so what’s new?   But there is one problem here, the CCC signed off early this year on a unit in the same building 20 meters away, using the same Engineer with the same expired IPENZ registration.

The question I ask is this:  Is this some new policy that they have devised or is this a new law that has suddenly been concocted or is this revenge for us being a pain in the “neck”?  Or All of the above?

Heritage Building owners, be very afraid, it is not worth repairing your Heritage buildings.  There is no structure or assistance in place to help you deal with these issues..

  • On a happier note:  The Duncan’s Buildings demolition is proceeding quickly.  Only one more party-wall to go.   Its been dusty and a bit noisy but trouble-free.  And a bonus… the front is still standing…..IMG_20180329_113553770.jpgIMG_20180329_113549651.jpg

Ho humm, off to make some more grumpy phone calls to the Building Consents dept…..

NEWS Flash. 9.23am   Change of heart at CCC PS4 now deemed acceptable as is.  Code of Compliance issued.

Road Cone Day.. High Street 7 years after the 22nd February 2011 Earthquakes..

It is “Road Cone Day” today.  When Christchurch remembers those that died, in a uniquely Christchurch fashion.


Christchurch road cone Memorial day.

That dreaded day has come around again,  when we all pause for reflection.  The 22nd of February 2011, the day that changed the lives of every Cantabrian,  some for the better, some for the worse.

We remember those that died, those that suffered and are still suffering and the many Cantabrian’s still trying to get Insurance settlements for their damaged houses and buildings.

We wonder what the future holds for the central city and 7 years on, reflect on progress in the CBD.

We have seen multiple/competing governmental agencies take control of the land, build, design and implementation of the rebuild process.  In the minds of many of us we see this as a separate and new disaster.  The anchor projects are un-affordable and in many cases stalled..  (in fact all they have achieved is a Children’s play ground and a Memorial Wall).

I await the analysis of the so-called “Rebuild agencies” with considerable interest, we need to make sure that this “half-baked” model they dreamt up in haste is never used in New Zealand ever again.

For High Street progress has also been painfully and frustratingly slow.

So we wait..  A total of 2492 days so far ….


High Street 7 years on from February 2011,  is just a car park…

It is hard to get enthusiastic about progress in the central city when we still have a street looking like this.  I see it as a massive failure of both local and central government management or rather mismanagement.

Lower High Street is still fenced off, there are 2 building owners who have not lifted a finger to repair their buildings.

In fact both owners have been given until 2033 to repair their properties under the “Earthquake Prone Building legislation”.   Really?, what planet is the CCC and Central Government  on?

This is in my view, hopelessly inadequate and is like slapping the owners with a “wet bus ticket”.   There has to be a better way of dealing with these issues.


Signage from the CCC on 141 High Street


On a more positive note:

  • The ground floor is nearly empty as all our machinery and stock has gone.
  • I see that the demolition has begun a few days ago on the 8 Duncan’s Units owned by Richard Pebbles.   He is planning to have the new units rebuilt by October/November.  Ye ha!

Demolition begins on the munted Duncan’s Building’s back.


Slow progress, but progress nevertheless.


If you have a building in a similar situation to ours, you need to read this blog from the beginning, so you can approach the issue with your eyes wide open.  This warts and all story is slowly reaching it’s final conclusion, only 240 more days to wait…

Whoops,  I  “Forgot” to tell you that the council is going to dig the street up, just when the buildings are finished.  I think they want to run the tram down this end?  I believe that this is now under some discussion, strange really, no one has asked me what I think…may be they know already?

ha ha the end is not in sight after all…. Bugger..

Update: 28 February 2018:

The demolition of the backs of the Duncan’s Buildings is progressing:  Some of it is going to be done by hand.


The lean too’s are gone, phase 2 begins. Now it gets tricky.

PPS.  Having trouble with Code of Compliance issues, at the CCC consents dept. … sigh, nothing structural I might add.  It is a paper work issue. It is about who signs the paper work!  lol.  A lawyers call seems to have progressed the issue….  they would not respond to my calls.  I think…. a case of “policy over legislation”.   I am watching with interest.

High Street issues drag on for 7 years…

What is new in High Street?…

  • High Street has been closed for nearly 7 years. The last street in the city to get any attention.  (Have you considered that this is longer than World War 11 lasted).       As you know I consider that keeping this area un-repaired has been a deliberate strategy..   aimed to promote other areas of the city.   (What school did you go to??? she says cynically).
  • The re-opening of the “street” is “imminent”  – that is one lane only, one way.  It did not happen 3 weeks ago so “imminent” is as close as I can get.
  • The  “Billens building 2017” is nearly finished.  Looks good!  I will grab an up to date photo.IMG_20171003_122741207
  • The demolition of the back of the 8 units owned by Pebble’s Group was supposed to be “imminent” as well.  I am watching the grass grow as we speak.  There is a very serious risk that the frontages will collapse  when this demo gets underway, if they are not very, very careful. Hope they know what they are doing….


    Digger been idle since end of November.

  • I spotted the CCC was cruising the street at 9.00pm the other night looking at the roading needs.  lol.  I would just settle for a road, who cares if it has cobbles? That’s a luxury. Apparently they were planning on digging up the road as soon as the new tenants have moved in to the rebuilt Billens and Duncan’s units.  You get the picture new businesses/road works a Typical Christchurch scenario.  I think you have already heard me comment on the lack of care that has been taken over the existing tenants/businesses in the CBD, by the powers that be.  This has not changed.
  • Our new tenants moved in upstairs yesterday.  They are having trouble getting an internet/phone line.  We put all the cabling in place but apparently there is no fibre connections spare in St Asaph street.  ie not enough nodes???  Really????   The latest update is that they may end up on the copper line that I had to use in 2013 that Vodafone “cobbled” up for me.   (Took them 4 months if I remember rightly).
  • As of today I am officially unemployed.  Cardmakers is sold, Arts the printers is closed.
  • re our neighbours.  On the North side, nothing has happened.  Zilch, nada…. it was supposed to be containered off at the front, 3 high if I remember correctly.  It was supposed to have parts of it demolished, it was supposed to be strengthened.. etc.. How is it that a building owner can get away with doing NOTHING for 7 years with no penalties?    The law is an ass.   It is well and truly time this was sorted out by legislation.    Somebody help????  Anyone out there?   CCC won’t help, nor will  Regenerate or LINZ, The Local MP’s won’t/can’t help…  Megan woods, Ruth Dyson, Duncan Webb…   Suggestions welcomed.   I am giving serious consideration to the temporary prop that I put in 7 years ago to hold up the roof…. that must be due to fail by now… the floor is rotten, the walls are falling out,   don’t blame me if it happens!!!

Part of our back deck is inaccessible to our tenants.

  • Oh and one last thing.. We are going for code of Compliance in early January 2018.  Ye ha.   7 years work coming to fruition!  By the way we did our landscaping for the Resource consent last week.  That was a waste of effort.  All the plants were stolen overnight.  They did leave the planter box though.  I really do wonder about the consents processes, they are a bit silly!P1010488.JPG

ho ho it’s off to work I go,  got some cleaning out to do and some compliance paper work to sort….

Have a great Christmas and New year.

Duncan’s Building in High Street vs Digger…

High Street News Flash:

  • I have been told by a contractor that the street in front of the Duncan’s Buildings will be opened on Monday, one way.  I have had no notification of this from the CCC but I would consider that normal.  ie I do not expect communication at any level.  I have no idea what implications this will have for contractor parking in the area, which is quite frankly a nightmare.  The irony of this is that you will enter the street from Tuam Street, go around the block and end up on, you guessed it, Tuam Street.  Aren’t our roading engineers clever?
  • A digger has begun demolition off  8 of the Duncan’s  Units, leaving the frontage standing if they are lucky. I will grab some pix today.

Digger has arrived and begun the demo.

  • Did you know that  once these 8 units are down, the unit next to us at 141 High Street is probably one of the most damaged buildings left in the city.  It has no support for its frontage and the back of it is just as bad if not worse.  The floors are rotten, the roof leaks and is held up by a prop that we put in place in 2010.  We should have pulled it out long ago.  ….. that is tempting …..   And still LINZ and the City Council wait for the building owner to do something.  As far as I can see, the owner, who is in Christchurch at the moment I might add,  (back from his overseas paradise), comes to look at the building occasionally and gives the universal one fingered salute to the CCC.  The law is clearly an ass.

Just how long are they going to let this go on? Is 7 years long enough for one building owner to hold up redevelopment of an area.  Obviously not! This building is not unique in the street as you well know.


NB. collected some graffiti in the weekend. If the silly idiot that did this knew what was holding the bay window up he would be very afraid.


Part of our back deck is inaccessible to our tenants.


Hi ho, hi ho, I am off to clear out the factory, we have sold the last of the plant.  Transfer is on the 30 December.

By the way, the lack of care that the government/council has taken with the existing businesses remaining in the CBD and fringes is worrying.  The conclusion we have all reached is that they did not want us here.

One also wonders, at what point do they consider that the number of bars and cafes in the city is past saturation point?  I note that bars and cafes are colonizers in a disaster, the problem in the Christchurch CBD and fringes is that we show no signs of getting past this stage.  So one could say that the recovery phase has not even begun.  7 years on….

They do not talk about this either,  Close your eyes government, for this is getting comical!

How not to repair a Heritage Bulding in the Christchurch CBD… Dirty 30’s again….

What is new in High Street.

  • The Watson’s frontage has been purchased by Shaun Stockman.  An Excellent outcome for the street as he is a very proactive landowner, who has a flare with heritage buildings.  (Although, as you know, I hate just keeping the facades).  I know that the Watson’s Building had been strengthened pre-earthquakes.  So the question should be asked as to why is only the facade still standing?  Did CERA have another of their rushes of blood to the head?  Any one know or remember, or was it another case of an overzealous demo contractor? I will try to find out. Link Here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/98817606/facade-sells-at-auction-no-takers-for-dux-building
  • This is obviously still annoying me…. I see the “dirty 30 list” is rearing its ugly head again.  In the 6 months or so that the CCC has been pursuing the building owners on this list they have sorted out 3?  Really? ( I sorted one-off them for them, I might add.  So consider that 2.)  And you consider that a success? As a building owner still trapped in a street of “Dirty 30’s” I do not consider this a success.  In fact the words Dismal Failure spring to mind.  Link Here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/99030236/action-taken-on-christchurchs-dirty-30-list   As you all know, I think that the legislation has let us down badly in this regard. The building owners in many cases have been negligent in their duties to the city.
  • We have now sold all of our plant.  The last of it will transfer in a few weeks to the new owner. We are pleased that we have sold the last of the gear to a local company.  We look forward to helping him get up and running and we hope he has as much fun with the “Cardmaker’s brand” as I have had in the last 20 years.  The factory is slowly emptying as we work our way through 50 years of stuff!  Jeepers we have found some treasures!
  • The demolition of the back of the Duncan’s buildings was supposed to happen a few weeks ago.  I do not know what the hold up has been.  There are multiple engineering issues with this demo.  I have some reservations about it.  One being how they will resolve the issue of the continuous facade and seismic gaps in the rebuild of the backs.  But what would I know.

    No Demo yet….

    Happy days… the sun is shining, the ground only shakes once in a while, I am in my new house, the garden is starting to look better and not working is really great…. May I cost the government a fortune in superannuation payments and health care…. I consider it revenge for the crappy treatment that they dished out to the small land owners in the city… but I would say that!!!

How not to repair a Heritage Building in the Christchurch CBD… St Asaph Street debacle..

What is New in High Street?

  • I see that Barry Watson has finally decided to put his frontage on the market for sale.  Personally I have serious reservations about the efficacy of “facadism”.  My experience is that the cost of repairing such facades is out of proportion to the return that one will get.  ie to get that facade tied back to a new building will cost approximately $1m?  Is it worth it? I also wonder what the cost to the surrounding area has been off leaving this building frontage derelict for 7 years.  A subject that the now EX building minister Nick Smith ignored when I tried to bring it up.   Link here:  https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/98252721/christchurch-heritage-facade-for-sale–without-the-building
  • The building next door at 135 High Street is down.  There is a wee bit of party-wall to be fixed.  From our point of view it looks 100% better.


    Why did this take 7 years?????

  • I threw my toys out of the cot, again… and now finally the CCC has started to sort out the parking issues in our cul-de-sac.  I now have to ring them again as the rubbish bins are not being emptied and the street is awash with trash. What is it with these guys?

    It has improved.

    I have been watching the St Asaph Street roading debacle with interest.  Generation Zero is insisting that the city become cycle only, while the business/building owners want vehicle access for their customers.   The naivety of the Generation Zero group is surprising, we have an aging population and they appear to have no business sense what so ever, while the Business Owners are fighting for the survival of their businesses  (they also have lost the plot, as much of the street was being used as long-term parking by their staff).  Reinstating what we had in the past is not satisfactory.  Any one ever heard the word compromise?

    Link Here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/98200418/authorities-believe-christchurchs-controversial-central-city-transport-plan-is-still-right-for-the-city   I will admit that I laughed when they suggested that this plan is going to come to fruition in 10 years time.  Whoops.. shame about the fact that it is not working now! Bit tough on the businesses that are there now…

  • Moving on…. Demolition off the backs of the Duncan’s Buildings begins on Monday.  We are not looking forward to the dust. I will get some photos of it tomorrow.  It could get interesting structurally…
  • We are having a closing down sale next weekend as we are not willing to wait for things to get better.  We have heaps of stock to clear.  We look forward to seeing our clients again after 7 years..close down mail order

have a safe evening!