Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Newmarket glass image shattered

By ANNE GIBSON

One of the 1980s mirror-glass towers will be bowled.

The six-storey Gaze Building in the heart of Broadway, Newmarket, which was erected at the height of the sharemarket rush of the early 1980s, is being demolished to make way for the expansion of the Two Double Seven shopping mall.

Ward Demolition will progressively knock down the $6 million building during the next few weeks.

The office block is where it should not be - in the middle of a low-rise mall development site.

Even the building's owner said it was unusual to demolish such a substantial and valuable building.

"Most people refit buildings of this age," said Michelle McKellar, chief executive of Auckland One. "We tried to find a way around it, but there wasn't one."

Auckland One is expanding its Two Double Seven mall, spending about $300 million building 200 shops and 3341 car parks.

Auckland One has masterminded the expansion from its headquarters in the Gaze Building, which was developed by David Gaze of Gaze Corporation.

Mr Gaze is a commercial property specialist whose more recent work includes developing Summerfield Villas, the 93-apartment complex on the corner of Richmond Rd and Sackville St, in Grey Lynn.

He also bought the derelict, partially completed motel complex on Hobson St near the Central Police Station, an Auckland eyesore he plans to finish.

The Gaze Building has to be demolished by the end of February, says Ward Demolition operations manager Randal Owles.

Internal walls and structures were being removed this month.

Bowling the building would start in the centre of the top level, using an excavator with a hydraulic hammer, which would drill down into the concrete floor. The concrete would be smashed off the steel reinforcing, dumped onto trucks and taken to Ward's resource recovery plant at Onehunga, Mr Owles said.

Large magnets would separate the steel from the concrete, which would then be crushed into aggregate and used for new buildings.

The mirror glass siliconed onto the building's exterior would be stripped off in panels, using knives to cut through the adhesive. The glass would then be crushed and recycled.

The job was difficult because of the building's location in the centre of a retail precinct, Mr Owles said. Shade cloth would be erected over the exterior of the building and plywood panels used to prevent debris hitting the street.

Ward demolished the Westpac Bank beside the Gaze Building late last year, starting one day at 6 pm and finishing at 2 am.

Another substantial office building was demolished just over a year ago. Sun Alliance House, a nine-level concrete building at 42 Shortland St, was demolished in December 1999. Built by Mainzeal in 1974-75, the building made way for the 40-level Royal & SunAlliance Centre.

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