Nine cars trapped inside the condemned Reading Cinema carpark building in Wellington will never be recovered.
Demolition of the Tory Street building began this morning and is expected to take until the end of March to complete.
The high-reach crane used to demolish 61 Molesworth Street is doing the job, starting with the stairwell at the corner closest to the Tory Street - Wakefield Street intersection.
Wellington City Council earthquake recovery team member Moana Mackey said the building is coming down, despite the nine cars still trapped inside.
She said it was simply too unsafe to get those vehicles out.
The carpark was significantly damaged in the 14 November earthquake, to the point it is not safe for anyone to enter.
Moana Mackey said now the crane is up, the focus is to get the carpark down safely and quickly.
She said there will be noise during the demolition and some days will be noisier than others depending on the work.
She said Tory Street is now a demolition site between Courtenay Place and Wakefield Street, and pedestrians need to respect the cordons.
The phasing of the lights at the intersection of Tory Street and Courtenay Place has been changed overnight between 9pm and 4am to make it quicker for pedestrians to cross the road and avoid the cordon.