Killer quake properties acquired by Crown

The Crown has bought the CTV building site where 115 people died.

The site of Christchurch’s biggest earthquake tragedy has been bought by the Crown from owner Lionel Hunter.

The now-cleared site of the CTV building at 249 Madras St was where 115 people died on February 22, 2011.

The price was $1.32 million, just below the rateable value.

The collapse of the building and subsequent fire on February 22 was the subject of a royal commission investigation last year, which found serious shortcomings in its construction and spread the blame between designers, builders and inspectors.

Local businessman Mr Hunter’s Madras Equities owned the building. Land records show that the settlement date with the Crown was April 24.

Christchurch Central Development Unit chief executive Warwick Isaacs says he has been contacting relatives of victims to tell them about the sale and to reassure them that access to the site will not change in the near future.

The property will form part of the “east frame”.

This is an area that will expand Latimer Square into a huge swathe of green open space to create a land bank for future development.

“Decisions are still to be made about the longer term use of the site, but those involved in the design and planning for the East Frame will be very mindful of what occurred at the CTV site, and this will be reflected in any decisions that are made,’’ Mr Isaacs says.

The CCDU is also negotiating to buy the PGC site at 233 Cambridge Terrace, where 18 people died and others were seriously injured in a building collapse in the February 2011 earthquake, is well advanced. Damage was noted after the first September 2010 and subsequent earthquakes but engineers gave it the all clear.

The PGC property is owned by Christchurch real estate entrepreneur Stephen Collins, who was a former owner of the Harcourts brand.

He told the Royal Commission he acquired the property in 2009 and was unaware at the time of the existence of a Holmes Consulting report which cast doubt on its seismic integrity.

Mr Collins is understood to have received an insurance payout.

c.hutch@clear.net.nz