Cin­ema lists quake dam­age at com­plex

The Dominion Post - - News - KATARINA WILLIAMS

Read­ing Cine­mas has re­vealed that its Courte­nay Cen­tral com­plex in Welling­ton suf­fered torn movie screens, wa­ter and pro­jec­tor dam­age, as well as fallen ceil­ing tiles as a re­sult of the Kaik­oura earth­quake.

The en­ter­tain­ment precinct in Courte­nay Place has been closed since Novem­ber, af­ter its neigh­bour­ing car park was deemed to be at im­mi­nent risk of col­lapse, and was de­mol­ished.

The com­plex is now be­ing pre­pared for a long-awaited re­open­ing on Thurs­day, March 23.

How­ever, ques­tions re­main over the Read­ing Cine­mas car park re­build and the de­lay-prone Count­down su­per­mar­ket planned for Courte­nay Cen­tral.

Any de­lay in re­build­ing the car park is likely to put a squeeze on park­ing avail­abil­ity in the cen­tral city, which is al­ready re­stricted af­ter Novem­ber’s mag­ni­tude-7.8 quake.

Read­ing En­ter­tain­ment Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Wayne Smith said Courte­nay Cen­tral com­plex had suf­fered ‘‘mainly cos­metic dam­age’’ dur­ing that ma­jor jolt.

‘‘The big­gest item is clean­ing the whole build­ing of dust af­ter sit­ting idle for these past months,’’ he said from Mel­bourne.

"The big­gest item is clean­ing the whole build­ing of dust af­ter sit­ting idle for these past months." Read­ing En­ter­tain­ment Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Wayne Smith

He re­jected re­ports that the cine­mas’ roof was sig­nif­i­cantly dam­aged.

When asked whether the com­pany planned to re­build the car park, he said: ’’Sadly, the car park was de­mol­ished, which was un­avoid­able. From a neg­a­tive, we are look­ing at the pos­i­tives and fresh op­por­tu­ni­ties.

‘‘It’s very early days, so we have a long way to go in plan­ning for a re­build.’’

Welling­ton Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive John Mil­ford ac­knowl­edged that, with more peo­ple go­ing into the area, a squeeze on car park­ing was in­evitable.

‘‘We’re go­ing to have to live with the fact that we’ve got hun­dreds of car parks less, un­til that is­sue’s re­solved,’’ he said.

‘‘Any owner, land­lord, de­vel­oper, is go­ing to re­ally look hard at what they’re ac­tu­ally go­ing to re­place prop­er­ties with. It may not even be a car park in the fu­ture. Who knows?’’

Mil­ford thought the site would ‘‘prob­a­bly be­come mixed use’’.

Read­ing En­ter­tain­ment’s plans for Courte­nay Cen­tral in­clude a new in­door pop-up food and en­ter­tain­ment park called The Court­yard, which will be a part of its re­launch.

McDon­ald’s new 24-hour restau­rant, which is be­ing shifted to the front of the com­plex, is due to open a day later on March 24, with ANZ Courte­nay Pl fol­low­ing suit in early April, a bank spokes­woman con­firmed on Fri­day.

Smith con­firmed the quake had de­layed devel­op­ment of the Count­down su­per­mar­ket project, but said ‘‘all par­ties re­main com­mit­ted’’ to it.

Ini­tially, Count­down owner Pro­gres­sive En­ter­prises planned to build a 3344-square-me­tre store on va­cant land at the rear of Wake­field St.

How­ever, those plans were de­layed when seis­mic is­sues were iden­ti­fied at the cine­mas’ car park fol­low­ing the 2013 earth­quake.

The project was also pushed back by Count­down re­quest­ing a re­design.

‘‘Clearly, there are some chal­lenges due to Novem­ber’s earth­quake, and we are work­ing dili­gently through those is­sues,’’ Smith said.

A Pro­gres­sive En­ter­prises spokesman said the com­pany was ‘‘still work­ing through the de­tails of this devel­op­ment’’ but he was un­able to of­fer fur­ther de­tails.

De­mo­li­tion work at Lower Hutt’s Queens­gate mall be­gan in De­cem­ber, re­sult­ing in the clo­sure of two nearby roads and a su­per­mar­ket.

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