How not to repair a heritage building in the Christchurch CBD…

CERA is gone,  ye ha, some progress at last after 5.5 years.  Or is it???  We now have a myriad of quasi government organisations taking over CERA’s functions.  One hopes that they will do a better job than CERA, but that may well be a vain hope.

We now have the: Christchurch City Council/Regenerate Christchurch/Otakaro Ltd/ Land Information New Zealand(LINZ)  all having their fingers in the pie.  I watch with interest to see if they can unravel the tangled mess.  I note that most of the CERA staff have been transferred to these new departments so I assume that it is business as usual. An inability to make sound commercial decisions and more “pie in the sky”, grandiose plans.  Ho hum who cares. Who knows who is in charge of this lot now?  It’s like a black hole of government departments.

The central city is still a mess.  Although I have seen some signs of improvement. The problem is that few of us go into the city anymore.  And I live here.  If I have to walk across town I by-pass the central city.

So What is new in High Street?

1.The McKenzie and Willis site, being developed by Richard Peebles, is making great progress. Ye ha.  The scaffolding came down briefly the other day so here is a brief view of it “scaffold less”.  ( Is that a word?)  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/79148528/historic-mckenzie-and-willis-facade-revealed–but-not-for-longP1010003.JPG

McKenzie and Willis Facade.  Looking good!

 

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Progress is rapidly occurring at the rear as well.

2. The Excelsior site has now been demolished. It does look better.   Link here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/78749969/heritage-facade-on-old-excelsior-hotel-in-christchurch-demolished

3. I see Johnny Moore at Brick Farm is having trouble with rabbits.  Now that is funny, Sorry Johnny. Add rabbit pie to the menu?  I also have possums, pigeons, cats, rats and 2 legged human weasels at my end of the street. Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/79634466/johnny-moore-rabbiting-on-with-visions-of-extermination

2.  There is the odd “rumour” about the fate of the Duncan’s Buildings.  All I can say is it sounds promising.  If only one can get the government to make a decision!  yeah right! Useless lot that they are.

3.  No propping of the Duncan’s Facade has occurred under either the  CCC/CERA/Regenerate Christchurch, leadership in 5.5 years.  It is desperately needed.  No sign of even an attempt to “Make safe”.  Days from notification to CCC off structural failure so far at: The CCC compliance team was notified on the 16 March 2016.  The count so far:  62 days…… please explain?????

Incidentally some one asked me the other day who our Case Manager/Block liaison person at CERA/Regenerate Christchurch is?  The second part of the question was when had I last had a conversation with them.  After a long silence I had to admit too: No idea and have not got a clue!

4. The Valentines Day quake was a beauty and caused some cracking in our (half off) pediment, way up on the top of the facade.  The Engineer’s conclusion was that it was terminal.  Thus we have had to re-scaffold and demolish it.   Bugger!P1010002.JPG

Pediment is cracked and generally munted.

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It would be helpful if the neighbour Jon Webb was not basking in the sun in Vietnam.  Sigh. I can not rebuild it as I only own half of it.  So I have had to come up with a temporary solution.

P1010058.JPGWe have redone the brick work and created a couple of pods.

It’s a pity that no one will take an interest in what is happening to the street.  As usual all the powers that be are conspicuous by their absence.  For heavens sake, the powers that be can not even get the wreck that sits beside us demolished.  How useless is that!

 

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Spink’s derelict building still not demolished 5.5 years later.

ho hum another day. Better head off to my new day job.

PS. My house is just headed back to amended building consent. ye ha.  I reckon I might be in it in 12 months.  No hurry of course its only been 5.5 years.

 

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Westende House – A Photo Opportunity for National?

Around the corner from High Street, proceeding with more speed than anything else in Christchurch, silently, stealthfully and unnoticed by the media, the demolition of the undamaged Westende Building (2012)  progresses. With no “cover boy” photo opportunities wanted by anyone (and not a Member of Parliament to be seen)  this 2-year-old building joins the 100’s of other buildings from the central city at the refuse station.

You have got to ask why?  For a tree-lined boulevard?  In the future??   Well done CCDU, is this how you Regenerate Christchurch?   http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/69943811/christchurch-rebuild-from-recovery-to-regeneration

What is the true cost, environmentally, socially, and morally?  Was this really necessary?

This building is less than 2 years old. Demolished for a tree lined boulevard!

This building is less than 2 years old. Demolished for a tree lined boulevard!

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Ho humm… the last few days of a Christchurch building, demolished for a road way.  RIP  Whats next !

How not to repair a heritage building in the Christchurch CBD- 4 years on…

This is great…. a story on High street. Written by Will Harvie, Christchurch Press. Interesting!

“The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority spent $1.82 million buying heritage properties on High St it no longer needs.”

The funny bit is that never actually needed these units, they just never thought the issue through properly. It was obvious 4 years ago that this is a Heritage block and should be treated as such.  They had no need to buy it.  Now 4 years later they have finally seen the light.  4 years too late, 4 years of neglect and inactivity. Frustrating, as it has stalled progress.  We are the only street still fenced off in the city.

Link Here:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/67535001/Cera-spent-1-8m-on-extra-land

I do admit to being a tad confused though. I had been told on the 4th of March 2015, by the CCDU  that the remaining 7 Duncans Units,  would be sold as is where is. This article says that “Engineers are still assessing the units to investigate options.”  My gosh how long does that take you???  4 years????

Okay, so is it a repair or a sale????

Regarding the now near mythical lane way at the rear of the building:
Here is the latest plan as published by the Press.

Lane way plan number ?????   This one makes sense! Finally.

Lane way plan number ????? This one makes sense! Finally.

Okay, so if the latest plan in the press is correct, we will end up with a lane way at our doorstep.  That’s good for me and not so good for the other building owner.

Fine now give it to me in writing so that I can rebuild our back lean-to block.  Because I don’t trust you to tell me the truth and you may just change your mind in the morning.

Funny thing is that when I spoke to the affected building owner 2 weeks ago, even he had not been told the outcome.   In fact he painted the building on Friday, I am sure he would not have troubled to do that if it is to be demolished soon???  Hummn someone better talk to the owner!  (Unless of course, he is pushing the price up by upgrading it.   A Logical plan and one that I was proceeding with as well.)

The article makes mention of the $1.8 million that CCDU has spent on buying buildings it does not need.  What a waste of 4 years as well as a waste of $1.8m. They should have spent it repairing the units.

I notice some wag has been having a bit of fun at CCDU’s expense.  I wish I had a $1 for every photo that the tourists take of these signs.  I could buy and fix one of the units,  lol.

For sale- 7 units, "Handymans dream". Indoor/outdoor FLOW... complete with rats, rubbish and no progress. PHONE THE GOVERNMENT.

For sale- 7 units, “Handymans dream”. Indoor/outdoor FLOW… complete with rats, rubbish and no progress.
PHONE THE GOVERNMENT.

Limbo Land 4 years on.

Limbo Land 4 years on.

The tourists I talk to every day say the same 4 words.

The Europeans say “Stalingrad”, the Irish say “Belfast in the 70’s”,  The English say “London in the Blitz”,  The Americans say “Detroit”.   Sad but true.

PS Regarding the rebuild of my house by Southern Response.  I have been out of it for 14 months.  The average as far as I can work out is about 5-10 hours work on it a week. P1000629

This weeks work as far as I can assess:  Monday less than  60 minutes, Tuesday  approx 2 hours, Wednesday 0, Thursday 0, Friday approx 2 hours.  (The blocks are not filled yet.)

The average house takes about 7000 hours to build I have been told.   I will leave the maths to you…….    Next Christmas???????  This is clearly unsustainable.  It is not surprising that there are a growing number of builders going into liquidation. They do not appear to be able to finish anything.

Link here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/67532555/Canterbury-homeowners-lose-all-their-savings

and here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/67527169/Almost-100-rebuild-related-firms-have-gone-bust-since-Feb-11-quake

Ho Humm just another funny sort of day in a silly city.

How not to Repair a Heritage Building in the Christchurch CBD…..

Well now, that was a surprise!!

  •  Now 855 days since designated “South frame, Innovation Precinct”  ( ie They can take the building any time between now and 2022)  They will as of the end of the month drop the designation on our building!!!! I have not seen this in writing yet!

CCDU has lifted the designation on our building.   As of the end of the month we no longer have a compulsory acquisition order over our property.  Unfortunately many others at the meeting I attended were not so lucky.  Any one who is in the path of their “aspirational” lane ways path is still blighted with the designations and their properties/parts of properties,  likely to be purchased over the next 9 months. The beleaguered Innovation Precinct will be the first to get this treatment.  (It is the easiest one for them to start on as the land has been clear felled anyway!)  “Shortly you will receive in the post, a copy of the South Frame addendum. Read the  South Frame addendum PDF 1.66MB, 28 pages

So how did this come about???

I had been invited a few days earlier to another of the CCDU meetings for the South Frame. “Christchurch Central Development Unit invites you to attend a presentation on the vision for the South Frame, incorporating an update on the new planning rules”.

As usual with these meetings I reluctantly agreed to go. They have a history of being dead useless.  The staff are usually totally unprepared/unable/unwilling to give single syllable answers to questions.  ie yes/no.

I am afraid this meeting was no different.  I am afraid I have to accept that the CCDU are totally out of their depth and incoherent.

They have finally come up with a “Concept plan” of the South frame.  Oh my, were the building owners angry, the feelings of ire in the room was palatable.  There was a feeling of derision at a badly thought out plan.  It has taken the building owners a long time to get annoyed and I think this meeting may be a turning point. It was a pleasure to watch. The building owners have lacked a focus and have allowed themselves to be bullied and pushed around.  It is time they joined forces.

As is usual with the CCDU, there were few details given, no questions asked were given a “straight answer”.  The staff appeared uncomfortable and evasive.

The meeting was interesting:

  • There was bad feeling about the sales that CCDU have already made of land that has already been “purchased”.  In my conversations with the building owners later, the same comments were repeated over and over.  “They have not got a clue”, they “have no business experience”, they “think that we will hang around that long waiting for them”,  it is “unaffordable”,  “the city is stuffed”, very “aspirational and totally impractical”, you get the picture.
  • A comment was made that CCDU should have been assisting building owners to facilitate repair/rebuild.
  • Complaints that CCDU was taking land off private land owners but not the Hospital Board for its laneways project.
  • Comments regarding the price of retail/office space at $500 per square metre being unaffordable.
  • The plans shown to us were not consistent and way too small to discern detail.
  • Miniscule, poorly defined and next to useless plans.

    Miniscule, poorly defined and next to useless plans.

  • they were trying to avoid paying compensation.
  • existing user rights continue for those of us who have remained in place.
  • Office size provisions increased to 500 sq metres.
  • Deferral of the development regulation in force in the Innovation Precinct to be removed.
  • I was almost left with the feeling that the building owners were baiting the CCDU.

Building owners were told that they were going to have a 10m wide “greenway” lane way pushed through their properties. The new lane ways plans literally cuts buildings in half! ie half a building on each side of the laneway! They have “sliced and diced” the south frame like a piece of cake. thus down grading its value.  (And we are not supposed to build a block wall around the sides of the laneway… as it must be pretty and green!)

The amazing part of this is that the south frame is the only frame in the city that is actually working as it is. And making some money for the city. Most of the big car sales franchises in the city are in this area. And they want to stuff it!   There has to be a better way of dealing with this issue than the plan they have come up with.

I was hoping that they might finally be able to give me an answer regarding the fate of the back of our building.  But hello….  this is a draft concept plan only.  They have not even started on the plan yet!  They do not know which bits of land they are going to acquire.  They can not tell us what is happening.  My god, 4 years we have waited…… and they still can not get their act together.  The building owners tried to get a time frame out of them.  The best we got was that the plans might be ready in late 2015   and it might take 3-5 years to implement.  And they are in charge of recovery in the city?  Does the National Government really not know what is happening here?  Have they not looked at the figures coming out of the city regarding trade and retail.  Oh yes I forgot we are doing well…..  that’s why there are for lease signs all over the city, building owners can not find tenants and the whole city looks like Stalingrad.

This lot has got to go.

The irony of this meeting is that The Christchurch City Council was not invited to attend, until their hand was forced.   And they say that CCDU is working together with the CCC????  For heavens sake hand control over to the CCC, they will do a better job, in half the time and it will be at least get the city up and running again.  This nonsense has to stop.

They need to make some DECISIONS!!!!

Ho Hummn,  I suppose its progress, of a sort????

PS  Ohh! We are popular are we not.-   I see that the plans for the Mckenzie and Willis site have been released.  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/64045452/50m-complex-at-McKenzie-and-Willis-site

This is great news.  Rumour has it that the Billens site will also begin the process of being tided up in the new year and the site sold……

CERA Flip-flops Again……

  • Locked out of undamaged factory for 1214 days – (since Feb 2011)
  • Do we still own our building????    Now 687 days since designated “South frame, Innovation Precinct” – only until 2022 before it lapses. ( Before we get told if we are going to be compulsorily acquired by the CCDU.)  Jeepers how did that happen? I thought it was 3 years.  Silly me.  This is not giving certainty to the building owners.  This is a really bad plan.
  • High Street Building amendment details still at the council. Another Request for Further Information regarding a “fire safety issues”.  Back to the Engineer. Humm this is starting to be really annoying……. some of the “questions” are getting annoying as well….
  • Building Consent for my new house. Amazing!  It came through yesterday.  It took only 8 months….

Now this is guaranteed to frustrate a building owner. Its called the flip-flop, or is that flop-flip. Now I am sure there is some clever individual out there who can tell me the answer to this question, but you now have here one totally confused building owner.

On the 3rd of June 2014 I am sent a document with a “spatial plan” of the new lane way to be created behind our building.  Okay…… so now I can make a decision about the layout of our rear block that needs rebuilding….  “Very spatial it is too…..”

But no, no, no….. 10 days later I am sent a new version that is to go out for public consultation……

Its changed back…. Again???????  Now this might seem to be no big deal.  But it actually is rather important that I get the layout of the building more or less accurately reflecting the lane way. There is no point in having the toilet block in an area that should be an entrance.

Now what i do?  grirr………  Why are we waiting?   Just tell me what the ….decision is so that we can make a decision.

Make up your mind please!

Make up your mind please!

 

Ho Humm, another day in paradise.