Council Defends Palace Demolition


The demolition early this morning of the 124 - year-  old heritage Palace Hotel in Victoria St was defended this afternoon by the Auckland Council”s CEO Doug McKay who insisted the council had no other choice.

And he insisted the owners were consulted.

Justifying the demolition, he said that the building continued to move towards the road throughout the evening, and by midnight had moved a total of 90mm. Windows were spontaneously breaking and the building was in danger of imminent collapse.

“A timely and thorough investigation and report on the property is now underway, including learnings for any future developments involving our iconic heritage sites,” Mr McKay said.

“It’s always a tragedy to lose a piece of Auckland’s heritage but public safety had to come first.”

The 124-year-old hotel,  opposite Sky City on the corner of Federal and Victoria St, was being renovated by Wellington developers to be made into a brothel in time for the RWC 2011 when cracks were discovered. Some neighbouring residents were relocated to hotels for the night.

“All reasonable steps were taken to reach a sound decision, including the advice of engineers who strongly advised that the movement of the building posed a serious threat to public safety, ” the CEO said.

“After all the options were considered the final decision to demolish had to be made in the interest of preventing the building from collapse and becoming a risk to the public and surrounding buildings.”

Comments reported in the media this morning suggested the Wellington men who bought the old Aurora Tavern were not consulted and were anxious to keep the building.

Mr McKay insisted they were consulted throughout the process and “were well aware of the inevitability of the course of action taken by the council. ”

“Their feedback was actively sought prior to the final decision.”

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  1. Kansas says:

    Went past the rubble in the afternoon. The building was rather beautiful, so sad that a single crack was the cause of its demise :(

  2. jarbury says:

    There was a LOT more than a single crack.

  3. John Dalley says:

    Any bets on the foundations being undermined (internally) during the renovations and alterations.
    Cracks do not appear and then continue to widen if it is on solid foundations like it has been for 140+ years.

  4. Matt says:

    John, sounds like that’s exactly what happened. The Herald’s reporting that consent was granted for expansion of the basement to turn it from a storage area into a work area. I imagine the investigation will look very carefully at the “peer-reviewed engineering report” that supported this work being done.

  5. karl says:

    The neighbour’s comments sound so horribly shortsighted “Oh, we aren’t sad to see it fall down, it was gonna be turned into a brothel anyway” kind of comments.

    Now those comments may have been cherry-picked so the Herald article reads jucier, but even so they are so stupid. This wasn’t going to be some drug-ridden crime hellhole (that’s one of the main points of legalising prostitution, ensuring that it doesn’t automatically become a crime-linked uncontrolled acitivity), and in any case, what did the heritage of the building have to do with whether or not you’d want a brothel next door?

    *Almost* makes me hope the new building is ACTIVELY ugly, so that those neighbours get what they deserve for such stupid comments. Or maybe build a scruffy, derelict at-grade car park there, like at the vertical bungee site down the road, and then let it stand empty for a decade or two. Auckland at its best!

  6. Andy says:

    Karl, I had forgotten about that car park!
    How about the one on Customs St East, next to Gore St!


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