Carisbrook corporate boxes last to go

A mechanical excavator stands beneath Carisbrook's terrace hospitality complex as demolition of the old ground entered its final phase yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
A mechanical excavator stands beneath Carisbrook's terrace hospitality complex as demolition of the old ground entered its final phase yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The demolition of Carisbrook is entering its final stage as contractors turn their attention to the old ground's corporate box complex.

However, the site's new owner, Calder Stewart, has already secured the return of the $200,000 bond it paid to the Dunedin City Council as part of its purchase agreement.

Council city property assistant manager Rhonda Abercrombie yesterday confirmed the council had returned the bond paid by the company as part of last year's $3.5 million sale of Carisbrook.

That followed the results of an independent report, which last month concluded the company had complied with a requirement to have the old venue's grandstands - except the four-storey hospitality complex - demolished by Christmas, she said.

''As per the clause, $200,000 of the sale price has been refunded to Calder Stewart as a paper transaction,'' she said.

Southern Demolition owner Alan Edge said his staff had now turned their attention to the hospitality complex.

Work to remove it began in earnest yesterday and was expected to take two months, and would be a ''reasonably difficult'' job, he said.

''It's a reasonably difficult building because you've got a power station beside it ... We don't want to shut down South Dunedin.

''There's a degree of difficulty in it, being high and being concrete.''

Piles of rubble remaining on site would also be crushed into aggregate over the next two months and recycled using specialist machinery to be brought to the site, Mr Edge said.

The aggregate would then be used in future development on site, possibly for roads or foundations, he said.

''There's quite a bit of recycling that's going to happen in the next two months.''

All work was expected to be completed in two months, leaving behind a cleared, fenced, vacant site.

The only clue to the old ground's former existence would be the historic brick Neville St turnstile building, which would form part of a pocket park in the area.

Calder Stewart's deal to buy the old ground was confirmed in June last year.

The company agreed to pay $3.5 million, including a $200,000 bond, which was to be returned if the stadium's grandstands - but not the terrace hospitality complex - were demolished within six months.

The deal left the council with a $3.418 million loss after buying Carisbrook from the Otago Rugby Football Union for $7 million in 2009.

The loss comprised a $2.256 million cash loss on the sale to Calder Stewart, and additional holding costs totalling $1.162 million.

The repayment of the $200,000 bond was included in the calculations, meaning the council's total loss would not rise.

The most disgusting bit of wastage

$13 million odd to build, 13 odd years old, probably only been full 100 times, and it's being demolished, the sort of thing you might say expect in a place like Las Vegas, it is unreal to think it's happening here. Ok, we are unfortunately stuck with the stadium draining our coffers, but I would have thought a modern building like this would have been at least converted for re-use in a redevelopment. Technically, the waste of this being built, only to be demolished, such a short time later, should be added to the true cost of the great saga of detrimental wastage the stadium has been, and will continue to be. The corporate place has balconies, the lot, 4 storeys high, it could have been done out as a hotel, retirement place, clubrooms, apartments, in fact there's 101 things it could have been re-used for. But no, while many clubs and societies have small often run down, poky places, this building gets torn to the ground. Modern buildings in their prime get torn down after a few years in Las Vegas, but needless to say, they at least got to pay for themselves, used daily, in the city of mllionaires.

This I guess one of the final chapters in the utter wastrelness that the stadium is. Lost for words. Amazing how those behind all this from the outset can sleep at night. But they do, and comfortably.

Forsyth Barr

Forsyth Barr Stadium will hopefully be the next on the block to be demolished. Let's hope it is soon. Love the Carisbrook site as it now stands. 

Christchurch is the logical base for a stadium of that size and fit for purpose given the few occasions to fill a rugby stadium. 

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