Westende House demolished due to rebuild plan

GoPro footage of the demolition (3 News)
GoPro footage of the demolition (3 News)

The first building rebuilt in Christchurch's CBD after the earthquakes has been demolished to make way for a new road.

Westende House reopened in 2012 at a cost of $3.3 million and is now a pile of rubble.

The structure was erected before the Government drew up its transport blueprint for the city and officials later decided to build a boulevard in the area. It got a death sentence after jutting just out just nine metres too far into the road.

Central City Development Unit deputy director Don Miskell says his team looked at alternatives, but were eventually forced to reverse one of the first inspiring stories to come out of the quakes.

"We did look at lifting the building and moving it nine metres to the east and the cost was very close to a new build," he says.

Westende House's predecessor became prominent after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in September 2010 as a backdrop for international media.

Former tenant Mike Bell moved in to the building in 2012 but had to find a new home when the Government decided to buy up and head towards a demolition.

"I think it's a shame and I wish we'd been able to stay, it's not an architectural marvel, but it was home," he says.

Former owner Shaun Stockman was so furious with the decision he had to keep away from the area.

"Following the settlement with the Crown I couldn't drive down the street for a couple of months, just couldn't do it," he says.

"I drive past now and don't even notice it, and have done so for the past year or so."

The next building to be demolished because of the plan will be the prominent strip club Calendar Girls.

It can operate on its central city site until the end of the year and then, like Westende House, will have to come down.

3 News