16 Jun 2015

Second life for Chch's historic Shands

12:01 pm on 16 June 2015

An earthquake-damaged heritage building in central Christchurch has been saved from demolition for the second time, and all it took was $1.

Shands Emporium, at the site of the Terrace Development, is to be moved to Manchester St.

Shands Emporium, at the site of the Terrace Development, is to be moved to Manchester St. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

Chairperson of Christchurch Heritage Ltd, Anna Crighton, has bought the historic Shands Emporium building from property developer Antony Gough, who needs the site for his new multi-million-dollar development.

The building will be moved from its home on Hereford Street to Manchester Street next to the former Trinity Church, which the heritage group is currently restoring.

The Shands Emporium building was built in 1860 and is the oldest wooden commercial property left in the central city.

Dr Crighton said that as the city rebuilds, there was "the danger that even more historic buildings may be thoughtlessly and needlessly destroyed".

Shands Emporium before the earthquake.

Shands Emporium before the earthquake. Photo: Supplied

"Christchurch Heritage Limited is demonstrating sheer grit and determination to effectively protect and revitalise what heritage they can in the CBD," she said.

Moving the building will be a complicated operation, involving traffic management plans and craning the building over tram wires on the corner of Hereford and Colombo streets.

Mr Gough said the move needed to happen quickly.

"We have a well driller working on site at this moment and they have got down 23 metres of the 38 metres for the first well.

"We need to get Shands off site before they get too close with the next three wells they will be putting down on our site."

The building will be moved during the quiet time of night, between midnight and 6am, in about two or three weeks.

It is the second time the Shands Emporium building has been saved.

In the late 1970s the New Zealand Post Office planned a new telephone exchange in Hereford Street on land incorporating the Shands Emporium site.

The building was earmarked for demolition but thousands of people signed a petition in protest, and in 1981 the Government lifted the designation on the land and the building was saved.

The Gough family has owned the property for more than 75 years and Antony Gough said it would have been too easy to demolish it several times but he and his family were determined to save it.