GONE: Cranmer Courts will be demolished.
"It's a tragedy," Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Buildings Fund fundraising manager Kristina Pickford said.A last-ditch plea to save the Cranmer Court facade has failed, devastating those trying to protect it.
Some $6 million had to be raised by yesterday to save the historic facade on the corner of Kilmore and Montreal streets, but no benefactor has come forward.
Demolition work on the facade was expected to begin today.
Pickford said having to raise such a large figure in a short time was probably off-putting for a lot of people.
The heritage-listed Christchurch building was red-stickered in the February 2011 earthquake and the residents have spent $1m stabilising it.
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) issued the Cranmer Courts body corporate a section 38 notice on April 19. The notice was not an immediate demolition order but stipulated the building was considered dangerous.
Demolition work at the complex began on Friday.
Cranmer Court body corporate chairman David Chambers said it was "extraordinarily difficult" to find any financial will from people to save the facade, particularly since there was so much else going on in the city.
He had hoped a benefactor would come forward, but acknowledged it had been unlikely, given the amount of money needed.
Chambers said a potential buyer wanted to turn it into a luxury hotel, but the deal failed because the body corporate members did not all agree on the sale and they could not meet Cera's timeline.
The owners did not have access to the money required to do the remedial work.
Cera had done what it could to give the body corporate time to find new ways to save the facade, but each time the body corporate ran into stone walls, Chambers said.
"A few us tried our hardest."
He said he did not have a mandate from the owners to pursue legal action to stop the demolition.
Chambers was gutted by the failure to save the facade.
'The word 'devastated' is a light word."
The facade would have worked well in the rebuilt city, providing a historical diversity to the city, Chambers said. He hoped people would learn from this example and not let it happen to other important structures.