Hotel Grand Chancellor
The Hotel Grand Chancellor – The Tale of One Hotel
An aerial view of Christchurch showing the Hotel Grand Chancellor proudly standing in the centre
Then and recently.
The Hotel Grand Chancellor was a major four star hotel in the centre of Christchurch, one of eleven Hotel Grand Chancellor establishments across Australia and New Zealand. The hotel address was 161 Cashel Street, close to the city's City Mall central shopping precinct.
The building was constructed in 1986 for office use by Forbes Construction. In 1998 it was converted to a hotel by Fletchers Construction with fifteen floors of hotel accommodation, and twelve floors of car parking, also housing conference facilities for businesses. For a long time, it was the city's tallest building at 85 metres (279 feet) and 26 storeys, but was overtaken in 2009 by the 86 metres (282 feet) tall Pacific Tower.
The room pictures look like so many in so many other hotels.
Earthquakes: The hotel survived the 7.1 magnitude Canterbury earthquake in 2010 and continued operation without any known structural damage. Five months later, while fully in use, the hotel was badly damaged in the 6.3 magnitude February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The building suffered structural damage, caused by the collapse of a key supporting shear wall "D5-6" located in the south-east corner of the building. The shear wall was responsible for roughly one-eighth of the Hotel Grand Chancellor's mass, primarily providing vertical support to the building. The damaged foundations lead to the visible leaning of the building to one side. Fear that the building would totally collapse hampered search and rescue missions in the vicinity. When searched, no survivors or bodies were found in the hotel.
A later investigation by the New Zealand Department of Building and Housing found that the risk of a staircase collapse and further serious structural damage could have occurred given the nature of the structural failure, but hadn't.
The building was eventually stabilised and on the 4th of March it was decided the building would be demolished over the following six months using a complicated deconstruction processes from the top downwards. On the 25th of May the public was told it would take over a year to demolish.
Minutes after the February 2011 earthquake, things didn’t look too bad.
From the back, some broken windows, but a closer look the left has dropped three feet.
Inside told a different story.
These three buckled reinforcing rods were taken from a collapsed shear wall on the south-eastern corner of the hotel and are on show in Quake City, the museum.
The roof of the hotel was removed in early November 2011.
A protective fence was built around the building to catch debris from the demolition and then slowly it came down by Ward Demolition.
The floors were supported by massive tubes joined together and thousands of gallons of concrete pumped in.
No explosives could be used in the area just deconstructing by drilling and pulling. The final wall came down in May 2012.
Rebuild: The Grand Hotels International owners of the former Grand Chancellor Hotel Christchurch had gained approval to rebuild on the same site by the city council. The new hotel would have been on base isolators at 50 metres (160 feet) high and have twelve floors in the hotel and five floor office block in the front. The new design was from Warren and Mahoney architects and was to be built by Fletcher Construction, to be finished by 2015. The city now has a ruling that no building will be allowed over seven storeys..................
In April 2014, it was announced that the hotel would no longer be rebuilt on its original site, and would be replaced by shops and offices instead. The Grand Hotels International group expressed interest in building the hotel on a different site in the city, but have no official plans to do so at this time.
ALL IN ALL A TALE OFT REPEATED IN THE CITY
THANKFULLY NO LIVES WERE LOST