A mid-colonial hotel in the centre of Auckland was demolished overnight amid fears it was going to collapse.
The Palace, previously known as the Aurora Tavern, had been undergoing extensive renovations when large cracks started to appear on Thursday afternoon.
Mayor Len Brown sought the opinion of three engineering firms who advised that if the building was not demolished, it would come down by itself. It was was built in about 1886.
Mr Brown says there was no choice but to accept it could not be saved.
He says there was a clear and imminent danger to public safety and other heritage buildings.
Mr Brown says the demolition is desperately sad.
A review will look at what happened.
The Wellington-based Chow Group bought the three-storey building in 2008 and had planned to turn it into a brothel.
All the roads around the site, which were cordoned off, are now open again.