Quake aftermath: Demolition of part of mall confirmed

7:33 pm on 25 November 2016

A cinema complex and multi-floor parking space for 300 cars at Lower Hutt's Queensgate Shopping Centre will be urgently demolished, its owner has confirmed.

View RNZ's full coverage of the earthquakes here.

Structural engineers last night declared the building unsafe and advised that it be demolished as soon as possible, prompting the evacuation of a nearby supermarket and hotel.

The building's owner, Diversified NZ Property Trust, this afternoon said it had decided to demolish rather than try to strengthen it, and a demolition contractor was already on the site.

The affected area is on the north-east corner of the 13-building shopping complex.

A map showing the affected north-eastern building (red-coloured block). It includes a section of the complex’s car park and Event Cinemas Queensgate.

A map showing the affected north-eastern building (red-coloured block). Photo: Hutt City Council

Other parts of the complex reopened today, after being closed two days after last Monday's magnitude 7.8 earthquake in the upper South Island.

About 80 of the 182 shops at the mall re-opened today, despite some areas being cordoned off.

About 590 out of the complex's total 1800 parking spaces were open. Three hundred of those spaces would be demolished, and it was not clear what would happen to the rest.

The owner said the demolition work had been ordered to proceed with urgency.

'Open with confidence'

The mall is managed by listed property investment company Stride, and chief executive Peter Alexander told Morning Report the other buildings in the complex were safe.

"One building in a city block may need to come down. What we have gone through is a process to make sure that people can shop in the part of the centre that is open with confidence. We've got our own people in there, my friends and family shop there, we want to be certain."

He said this afternoon that there should be a timeframe for the demolition early next week.

RNZ has kept a running list of all the buildings in Wellington affected since the 7.8 earthquake on 14 November. Check them on the map here.