Owners of approximately 80 buildings in Wellington were ordered to do new earthquake checks as a result of several large earthquakes in surrounding areas since late 2016. High-profile affected properties include Defence House, the Asteron Centre, Lambton Quay’s Vodafone building, Revera House and the Wellington Central Library. Where required, demolition, repair and reconstruction of buildings that were severely damaged began in November 2016, and are ongoing.
Radio New Zealand has kept a running list of the affected buildings in Wellington and marked them in this map.
Thorndon Buildings Demolitions and Re-construction
The map below-left shows the location of many of the features/buildings mentioned in various contexts/reports.
61 Molesworth St has now been demolished.
Foundations for a large (18 storey) building are presently being laid at 109-111 Molesworth St. The huge tower crane was erected in early March. This building site doesn’t appear on the WCC map above.
The construction site missing from the map … occupies the area coloured yellow.
The Kaikoura earthquake has added a lot of unanticipated projects. Things might be feeling a bit crowded for a time… including the skyline. Below are photos of cranes crowding the sky, as viewed from the Indian High Commission’s site in March 2017. We understand that the tower crane on this site will be here for 18 months.
Suddenly we have all these projects and investments in new buildings, all arriving in a relatively short period of time. Some might argue we shouldn’t be surprised… after all earthquakes are just part of our reality in New Zealand, and we’ve been talking about responding to events like these for some time.
Although we’re still recovering from the shock and surprise of it all, and we have justifiable concerns about how the changes are going to impact us, perhaps we should also remember to celebrate the amazing investment opportunities that have befallen Thorndon / Pipitea.
The photo above is the view south down Mulgrave St, taken on 7 November 2017. This road is a major artery/off-ramp route for traffic from the urban motorway and those coming into the city from the Wadestown Hill and beyond. In the distance is 2 Aitken St (Freyberg House/former headquarters of the Ministry of Defence), which is being demolished and re-built. On the left, by the traffic lights, is Revera House, also currently undergoing deconstruction.
Revera House is on the northern boundary of historic Old St Pauls, near the intersection of Murphy St, Mulgrave St and Pipitea St. By July 2017 it is estimated that the building will be decommissioned down to 5-floors high. This gives an indication of the time and size of the job that is underway. There will be many such jobs being undertaken across Thorndon and Wellington.
Questions were raised by residents, and answers were provided, during a meeting on 31st March 2017 with Ken Bailey and Jacqui Hastie from the Wellington City Council, and representative for Revera House, MarkCrosswell.
Photos taken early October 2018. The house now left proudly on the corner without an immediate neighbour, is/was the Cook Islands High Commission. The high rise dominating behind the house is the Government Communications Security Bureau.
Photographs taken on 20 October 2018 showing the dismantling of the huge crane that has been a feature of our skyline during the deconstruction of Revera House. Part of Pipitea St has been temporarily transformed into a closed gravel road so that this enormous piece of machinery can crawl off the site and onto the roadway without damaging it.
View shafts we now have to neighbouring historic Old Saint Pauls.
Freyberg House (former Ministry of Defence building)
Freyberg House, which sustained significant damage in the November 14 earthquake, will be demolished and rebuilt. AMP Capital has decided the demolition and complete rebuild of the building is the best way forward as the cost of repairs is not economically viable.
Click the image to the left to open a media statement on the demolition of Freyberg House (headquarters of the Ministry of Defence).
Progress reports from Wellington City Council
6th November 2017
7th December 2017
5th February 2018
Update 13th January 2018
One lane of Mulgrave St is lined with shipping containers with scaffolding atop to screen the public from falling demolition debris. A large mobile crane also provided additional screening when higher parts of the core of the building were being nibbled away.
Note that just around the corner, Pipitea St is also being shut down to one lane for an extensive period of time this year. This is to enable the deconstruction of Revera House whose address is also on Muglrave St, but on the opposite side of the road.
The former Defence building is being ground down. Mulgrave St is now one lane. Here’s a couple of shots taken early Saturday morning – normally a very ‘quiet’ (non congested) time on these streets.
Nibbling away at the bones of Freyburg House requires the partial closure of Mulgrave St. This arterial road has been reduced to one lane.
Saturday morning congestion the length of Murphy St, arising from demolition activity in Mulgrave St.
The Defence site on 24th April 2018, with the basement now exposed (taken from 32 Mulgrave St, looking toward the low profile building forms of the National Library and Court of Appeal away on the other side of the site).