Christchurch City Council pushes owners of earthquake-damaged buildings to clean up

In 2017 the Christchurch City Council created the 'Dirty 30' which named and shamed 'eye sores' left lingering from the February earthquakes. 

Seven years on, that list is now down to the final three buildings, and officials want to keep the ball rolling.  

Once a bustling bar in the city centre, 12 years later, Christchurch's Blue Jean Cusine is a haven for urban explorers who share their escapades online.  

It's one of three remaining properties the council wants cleaned up - alongside the former PWC Building and Two Fat Indians restaurant.  

"We'll keep on working on those last three owners who haven't told us what they're doing," head of city growth and property Bruce Rendall said.  

"We will be keeping on those who say we've got these plans and make sure they deliver them."

After this week's update, 13 sites formerly on the list now have what the council describes as a "commitment to action".

Officials and owners of the buildings are keeping in close contact.  

"It's on a really frequent basis, probably monthly. Trying to encourage them to make progress on those sites," Rendall said.  

One of those sites, the Harley Chambers, received new owners in August.  

And after years of heritage listing headaches, it will soon be bowled to make way for a new project.  

"When we purchased it we had an open mind about it. We've spent a lot of our career saving damaged buildings," Citadel Property director Michael Doig said.  

"The interior is unquestionably the worst building I've ever been in in my career."

Time may be moving slowly, but progress is beginning to ramp up. 

Demolition work in Cathedral Square will allow the Rydges redevelopment to get moving this year.  

The Holiday Inn's hole is also being filled, for new commercial property.  

"I think having certainty around some of the larger anchor projects the stadium, even metro sports getting close to completion is giving the private sector a lot of confidence," Doig said.  

"It's an incredibly exciting crossroads I guess you could say, we've finally got the impetus," Citadel Property director Jonathon Lyttle said.  

And with some spaces at a standstill, patience is starting to wane.  

"We recognise the complexity of the situation and that owners do have to think about the economics and rent on them. But we really encourage them to think about development on them," Rendall said. 

"We need activity in the city, not tombstones," Lyttle added. 

It's obvious that the scars of Christchurch's past are now starting to stain.