Photos: Collapse Fear = CBD Chaos



Cracks spotted in the old Aurora tavern in Victoria St opposite Sky City have led to CBD traffic chaos in the peak time traffic tonight.

There are structural concerns for the heritage building which was being renovated for a brothel in time for the RWC 2011. Auckland Council is investigating the situation.

Buses servicing the area have been temporarily re-routed. Auckland Transport is advising commuters to stay clear of the inner city after police cordoned off Victoria Street West (between Hobson Street and Albert Streets). Federal Street between Victoria Street and Kingston is also closed.

Council officers and police are standing around - not sure if they are waiting for the building to collapse!

Here are photos from Alex K here at the scene:


<a href=”” target=”_blank”>Video of how it looks early this morning</a>

Photos of demolition



  1. Chris says:

    I hope it isnt pulled down as it is quite a nice building.

  2. John Dalley says:

    It is being pulled down tonight (Thurs) as it is too unstable. I wonder if it time we will find out that the renovations have undermined the foundations.

  3. Matt L says:

    John, it wouldn’t surprise, one story I saw said there was a heap of reinforcing being done and they were currently working on the foundations.

  4. Good bye nice building says:

    That corner property will be extremely valuable without the old heritage building on it.

    I heard on Radio Live that these cracks showed up 2 months ago. Why didn’t the developer act then? Just a thought.

  5. Good bye nice building says:

    Perhaps demand the developer rebuild to the same design? That therefore ruins there evil plan for a high rise building on that prime location.

  6. rtc says:

    A cynic in me would say they did this on purpose to increse the property’s value. I’m surprised it is being allowed to be pulled down to be honest.

  7. Matt says:

    rtc, “being allowed” isn’t the right term when it’s an emergency. The law gives the council very broad powers when public safety is at risk, and that includes ordering immediate demolition. This won’t have been the developers’ call, and the Herald this morning has a quote from the developer saying that he wanted to get an engineer up from Wellington to give a second opinion but the council engineers weren’t interested.

  8. damian says:

    Talk about panic merchants.
    Cant see why they just did’nt prop the building up till a proper and non rush assessment could be made.

    Some pretty simple temporary works could have been erected and once again hertiage is being lost through incomptenance

  9. Matt says:

    Damian, and your civil engineering qualifications would be…?
    Given that the concern was the entire building tipping over, what “simple temporary works” would you suggest? Remember that closing Victoria Street for any extended period of time isn’t a starter, and there’s risk to neighbouring buildings should a collapse happen. Those buildings would need to be closed too.

    Safety of life takes precedence over everything That includes heritage. When senior fire officers are telling the media that you can hear the building moving, that’s pretty serious.

  10. karl says:

    “rtc, “being allowed” isn’t the right term when it’s an emergency. The law gives the council very broad powers when public safety is at risk”

    Still, I hope there is a close investigation into what caused, or abetted the structural failure.

    I am not saying the developer had anything to do with it. BUT in these cases, developers potentially stand to gain such huge windfalls that the temptation may be too much for some.

    Again, I do have no reason to accuse this specific developer of anything. It should simply be a general requirement - for the benefit of future cases as much as to ensure there was nothing dodgy about this case.

  11. Matt says:

    Karl, I’m sure the council’s engineers will be looking into it with great interest. Remember, this was a decision by the Council, not by the developer. His comments in the Herald this morning suggest that he wanted the legacy building to remain and is rather annoyed that the Council waded in and said it had to be pulled down.

    Since I’m not any kind of engineer, and wasn’t there, I’m going to defer to the real experts who made the decision that the building couldn’t safely be left standing. They will have considered Brown’s position that saving it was important, since his comments to TV1 last night clearly show that he had discussions with them in the early evening, but in the end the safety of the public is the highest concern.

  12. James B says:

    I just hope that what the put in its place is as stunning and not just another cheap concrete and glass box. That’s the last thing we need.

  13. damian says:


    BE Civil - if you must know.

    In terms of the temporary works, I’ll keep it simple for you.

    Where the cracks are, one method could be to drill and tie a horiztonal beam across the face of the structure to effectively stich the two sides together.
    Once this is done, you place a series of prop / columns on the ground to support the load of the beam and take the weight off the structure. This would enable more time and investigation to take place.

    Buildings do not just come down, even if you do alter or undermine the footing or structure.

  14. Amused says:

    “BE Civil - if you must know”


  15. karl says:

    “Where the cracks are, one method could be to drill and tie a horiztonal beam across the face of the structure to effectively stich the two sides together.”

    Damian - that assumes you aren’t risking the life of the people doing the work. We aren’t talking risking the life of an emergency worker to save other lives, we are talking about whether it would be worth it to risk someone’s life in saving a BUILDING.

    No, I think that pulling it down was likely the correct choice for last night. IF (and only if) there’s anything fishy about it, it will have occured during the last couple weeks of assessment and redevelopment - not in the final decision, which was not in the developer’s hands anyway, as far as we are aware.

  16. Daniel says:

    You know the CDB chaos would not have been so bad had we had a proper CDB rail loop


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