Christchurch earthquake: Property trusts count the cost

By Anne Gibson

Destruction caused by the earthquake in central Christchurch. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Destruction caused by the earthquake in central Christchurch. Photo / Mark Mitchell

NZX-listed landlords with millions invested in Christchurch real estate were yesterday counting the cost, even though they could not visit some properties.

National Property Trust, the $191 million landlord, expressed concern about the structural integrity of its Eastgate Shopping Centre at Linwood. General manager John Crone said the mall would be shut "for an extended period" but was covered for two years' income replacement. Six customers were injured there on Tuesday, he said.

Road disruptions meant National had not been able to even check on Natcoll House, Print Place or malls at Avonhead and Hornby where the trust holds leases.

Staff would be looking at structural issues at all properties and engaging structural engineers, Crone said.

Two big Christchurch investment buildings owned by $1.8 billion Kiwi Income Property Trust suffered damage.

Chris Gudgeon, chief executive of Kiwi's manager, outlined problems at Papanui's Northlands, one of Christchurch's biggest malls, worth $236 million and with 42,247sq m of retail floorspace.

"Preliminary inspections by centre management indicate there has been minor structural damage and damage to shopfronts, stock and racking systems for some retail tenancies. There has also been some water damage due to leaking fire sprinkler pipes," he said.

Kiwi's high-rise CBD office tower also suffered. The PricewaterhouseCoopers Centre, built in 1990, is a $51.8 million, 21-level building with 18 levels of office space, ground-floor retail, gymnasium, swimming pool, sauna and two levels of carparking.

Gudgeon outlined some minor problems.

"All building occupants were safely evacuated immediately following the earthquake. Preliminary indications are that there has been no obvious major structural damage. Ceiling tiles and light fittings have become dislodged on some floors and water leaks from fire protection systems are apparent," he said.

"The PricewaterhouseCoopers Centre sustained only relatively minor damage in the earthquake on September 4 last year and it is apparent that its construction in 1990 to modern structural codes has thus far served it well."

* Eastgate mall, Linwood
* Avonhead Shopping Centre
* Natcoll House, Hereford St
* Print Place warehouse/factory
* HMWC warehouse, Hornby
* Northlands mall, Papanui
* PWC Tower, Armagh St

- NZ Herald

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