Derelict Buildings and the Christchurch CBD…

What’s new in High Street?

News Flash….

After waiting for 6 years,  our neighbouring building owner has finally agreed to put his building on the market.

It has gone from this:

3rd Earthquake pictures 038

22.2.2011 15 minutes after the earthquake.

 

To This:

IMGP4089-spinks

135 High Street, 6 years later!

Yeah ha….

With a bit of  “discussion” we have managed to get a better outcome for everyone.  (There was no personal feud here, we wish the previous owner all the best, his circumstances were difficult to say the least).

The new local owner (not us) is an excellent choice and we are looking forward to the imminent demolition of this eyesore.  I believe this is already under discussion.

It’s a win win!  A very rare occurrence these days in Christchurch land deals.

The new owner, who as you will see, I have not named yet, is planning a new building.  But first the demo will occur.  Our units will look a lot better, some fencing can be removed and it will make the leasing of our building considerably easier.

My guess is we will get a modern frontage and rear, that will look amazing wedged between us old “dungers”.

A pity that it had to take 6 years, with no help from the “powers that be”.   Useless bunch governments and councils.. but I would say that.

One down, one to go, on to the other side now.

IMGP4091

This owner has insurance problems, and has done no work since 2010. 141 High Street

 

Derelict Buildings in the Christchurch CBD & the Minister for Building & Construction.

Well that was a bit of a joke.   An answer from The Minister for Building and Construction, Dr Nick Smith.  He tells me: “I am unable to get involved in individual disputes”…. “talk to the Christchurch City Council…”  or ” seek legal advice”.

Just how out of touch with reality is he? I can name, right now, 6 buildings within  200 metres of us that are derelict and have neighbours desperately trying to get resolution.

This government has been asleep at the wheel for 6 years over these issues.

  •  Incidentally, It is not a dispute. It takes 2 to have a dispute!
  • I have talked to the CCC. Ad Infinitum …. still dead useless…
  • We are now in discussions with LINZ (Land Information New Zealand). They are in charge of the Section 77’s, which to be honest are not worth the paper that they are written on. (These are a renamed section 38 make safe orders).
  • Lawyers?    Does he have a spare $1000 or $5000?  Haven’t the lawyers in Christchurch made enough out of earthquake misery yet? (Mostly as a result of this government not protecting the people and not forcing the insurance industry to settle within a reasonable time period).

Unless the Government develops some gonads, this issue is going to be a re-occurring theme throughout the country. Does the Minister really think that this is not going to be an issue in Wellington?  He’s dreaming. (Not unusual for this particular Minister I might add. He has become known as the minister that reduced the water quality of our rivers by revising the standards.  Down, down, down). http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/89767723/NZ-reputation-hurt-by-declining-water-quality-tourism-industry-says

This issue is going to have a massive impact on surrounding building owners nationwide.  Being surrounded by derelict and abandoned building is going to be the NORM!  Look at some of the small towns in the south island, Timaru, Ashburton, Waimate, Oamaru,  Greymouth, the list is endless,  all of them have un-reinforced  masonry buildings that are now semi abandoned, too expensive to repair, too expensive to pull down as well as being uninsured.

minister resp.jpg

ho hum, another day in a dysfunctional city.  It certainly is interesting!  I’m off to do some real work, paint the factory wall.

PS I hear that LINZ  are going to demolish one of our neighbours further down the street, this is happening as a result of the meeting between a building owner and Minister Brownlee last week.   Hum…  it appears that the Old boys network is alive and well in Christchurch…  At least it will create a precedent!

P1000847

Whoops, it needs to come down now so that the neighbours can open.

High Street – Derelict Buildings in the Christchurch CBD…

What’s New in Lower High Street:

6 years and 1 month after the 22nd February 2011 quake and still neither the Government, Minister Nick Smith,  or the Christchurch City Council have made any attempt to deal with building owners who refuse to repair/sell or sort out their buildings. One has to wonder why?

Is it that it would force some of the “well-heeled” building owners in the city to act. (ie  the Anglican Church in the Square?)  Or is it simpler than that?  They are incompetent?  The jury is out on this issue.

My argument is that CERA/CCDU/Otakaro/Regenerate were tasked with assisting recovery.  It appears to have been a VERY selective assistance is all I can say. They have made no attempts to get High Street back up and running and we now have 2 – soon to be 3 building owners waiting for neighbours to act.  (The only Street in the city still behind fencing after 6 years).

Hot off the Press:  I believe LINZ (Land Information New Zealand) has agreed to the demolition of one of the “made safe” units at the other end of the row, (Laurie Rose building), due to the fact that it will hold up the opening of one of the Duncan’s units.  I see that Minister Brownlee was in the street on Friday (10th March) having a meeting on this site, with building owners, Linz, Lawyers etc.  Interesting, is it not, that the street was “cleaned up” on thursday prior to this meeting.  The 2nd time in 6 years, a coincidence?  Not!  It is okay for the locals to put up with this mess for 6 years but the Minister can not put up with it for 15 minutes?

A pity that the Minister did not walk 100 yards to see another building owner in exactly the same situation. Very selective treatment is a norm in Christchurch I am afraid.

Governments should not be in charge of disasters, they do a poor job.

Re the Duncan’s Units:

  • I am now wading through 124 pages of the  Resource Consent document for the demolition of the backs of the 8 Duncan’s Units purchased by the Peebles Group. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/90142156/progress-at-last-for-christchurchs-lower-high-st-as-developers-launch-heritage-rescue          Hum..  I am not sure that I entirely agree with some of the statements in this document.  There are a number of factual errors.   Financial expediency rules here I think. My feeling is that the outcome is not the correct one, but it is unlikely that I will get a say in the matter.  Add that to the fact that Resource Consents gave me the paper work “run around” last week when we demolished a badly damaged brick wall  (that we are rebuilding I might add) and this week they are likely to consent demolition of the entire backs of 8 units with no qualms at all.  One could say that “one is pissed off!”  she says holding her nose. I know what I will say when you ring me again…..
  • I note that some of the larger building owners have made a deputation to the CCC regarding the new “Inaccessible” city. (We did this weeks ago).  I hope you get somewhere. The problem is that they will not listen and they refuse to accept that they have it wrong. (I might add that we are now totally unable to access our back service entrance off St Asaph Street,  our paper suppliers can not park safely and the drivers refuse to come to our front entrance because they have to back out of the street). I notice that the Fire service at 1.30 pm today feels it is safer to drive in the middle of the road, straddling both lanes than to try to squeeze into one lane.  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/90413666/anger-at-an-accessible-city-central-christchurch-traffic-plan
  • Our new toilet block is emerging from the mud.  Literally.  3 days of rain have turned it into a nasty mess.  The opening of the neighbours service trench along side has not helped.
  • IMG_20170310_101831311IMG_20170310_102014158

 

  • We have just sold off Our Heidelberg Cylinder, in preparation for our exiting the building.  It is off to the big smoke in Auckland. It “crawled” its way out the door yesterday.  Sad really:  Another small Christchurch company closing down due to: a too slow recovery process, impossible parking and access conditions, lack of assistance from “the powers that be” regarding surrounding buildings, Inaccessible City centre, etc  I could go on…  We are collateral damage.  What’s another couple of unemployed old printers going to do next???  Unemployment here we come. ye ha!!!!
  • IMG_20170315_100235828_HDR.jpg
  • IMG_20170315_122821512.jpg

IMG_20170315_154548080_HDR.jpg

The sun is shining, our mud hole is drying up and retirement beckons….  ye ha

 

Inaccessible City- The CHCH CBD

As a follow on from my last post in January. I note that I have not had a response from the Building Minister, Nick Smith, regarding the implementation of stronger legislation in Christchurch, or even an attempt to force recalcitrant building owners to clean up their derelict buildings.

I notice the Press did an article a few days ago with a list of the 10 worst Buildings. “They ask if six years is long enough”?   I think any resident of Christchurch will give you a resounding Yes to that question!   Frustrating….

Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/89590828/eyesore-sites-still-blot-christchurch-cbd-landscape-six-years-after-the-earthquake

The problem is that NO ONE is doing anything about the situation. Some “backside covering” going on here I think, at a very high level I suspect.

Christchurch City Council is ineffective as I suspect is the new organisation,
Development Christchurch Limited (DCL).  (A division of the CCC with no funding).
and Land Information New Zealand -LINZ is invisible.  They are responsible for the “make safes” section 38 now renamed 77’s!  Confusing!
I see that the Duncan’s Buildings  are on this list of the “infamous”. No surprises here,  (I notice that Phillip Carters old WINZ building in High St is not on the list). There are many others who deserve to be on this list as well.

ho hum SNAFU

I had a wry grin on my face today when I saw this.

The Inaccessible City, By Mike Yardly. He has said exactly what a fellow retailer in St Asaph St and I, told some CCC Councillors about 3 weeks ago.
I hope he has more success in getting through to them than we did. He says it so beautifully!

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/89827400/mike-yardley-christchurch-street-changes-making-city-inaccessible-not-accessible

CCC and Otakaro have redesigned the CBD roading network, it is a debacle, the roads are too narrow,  have large concrete kerbs, multiple levels, are visually unappealing, it is impossible to access the few parks we have left and we have almost no loading zones.  I am aware of a number of retailers who are starting to look for new premises outside this area.  The CBD has become totally inaccessible now.

As Mike Yardly points out: “The pencil-thin lanes are utterly unforgiving with no breathing space or margin for error. Buses, trucks and wide-boy SUVs can barely fit within them. If they have to turn a corner, they duly encroach the neighbouring lane in order to carry out the manoeuvre. Daft and dangerous.

Of the few remaining on-street car parks, their configuration is so tight that motorists have no choice but to bring traffic to a stand-still while they painstakingly negotiate themselves into the slot.”

Nice One!

What’s New In High Street?

Our new toilet block is slowly starting to take shape. We give our grateful thanks to Andrew Evans at Intrados Architecture for helping us to negotiate the Design and Consents issues.

The slab gets poured on Friday this week.P1010343.jpg

Below:

The Peebles Group has dumped the steel for the propping of the facades of their 8 Duncan’s Units in the street, unfortunately it is not going to do much good there, it needs to go in.

P1010325.JPG

Have a great day, stay out of the CBD, you can not get there anyway, the roads are blocked, there are limited parks  and you will break your neck tripping on the road cones!