20 Nov 2010

Palace owners considering suing council

12:33 am on 20 November 2010

The owners of a heritage building in Auckland's CBD are considering suing the council for demolishing it without their consent.

The former Palace Hotel was knocked down during the early hours of Friday morning after developing large cracks while being renovated.

The Wellington-based Chow Group planned to turn the 124-year-old building into a brothel.

Auckland Council says it had no choice but to order the demolition, with the building posing a serious risk to public safety and other buildings nearby.

But the building's co-owner, Michael Chow, says the council jumped the gun, without providing him with proper notice or giving adequate consultation.

Mr Chow says it is too early to say what kind of civil claim could be lodged.

The council has released a statement saying it took all reasonable steps to reach a sound decision.

It says engineers strongly advised that movement by the building was a serious public safety threat.

Windows were spontaneously breaking, it says, and the building could have collapsed.

It says the building's owners were consulted, and were aware of the action the council planned to take.