Demolition begins on two buildings in central Blenheim this week.
The Council-owned Millennium Art Gallery building on the corner of Seymour and Alfred Streets, and the former Marlborough Clubs’ building at 6 Russell Terrace are both due to come down.
Demolition will take place in two phases for both buildings with asbestos removal being the first stage of the process. Scaffolding is in place ahead of removal of the roof of the Millennium Gallery which starts today and is expected to take two weeks. The demolition of the remainder of the building starts Monday 27 November and should be completed by Friday 15 December.
The Millennium Art Gallery building (at one time Blenheim’s public library) was constructed in 1958 and after several conversions, became home to the gallery in 1999.
Deputy Mayor David Croad, who holds the property and development portfolio, said a detailed seismic assessment was done for the gallery building which calculated its seismic rating at 38% NBS (New Building Standard).
“The building as it stands represents an earthquake risk,” Clr Croad said. “We appreciate Marlburians may remember this building as the public library, and we are sympathetic to that. However, the building is not safe to remain, and the Millennium Art Gallery Trust have a fantastic new facility at our wonderful library and art gallery space, so the time is right for removal,” he said.
The use of the site in the future is not yet confirmed but additional parking is one option.
The demolition of the building will also allow for traffic safety improvements to the Seymour and Alfred Street corner where there have been several near misses over the years due to limited visibility for both vehicles and pedestrians.
The former Marlborough Clubs’ building, due for removal beginning this Tuesday, will also bring back some fond memories for locals. Council purchased the 1,700m2 site in 2017 off the Clubs of Marlborough.
“The land has always been viewed as having strategic development opportunities, being central and next door to the Marlborough Events Centre and ASB Theatre,” Clr Croad said.
“The site continues to have great potential as a hotel or residential development, amongst other possible uses, which would create wider economic benefits for Blenheim and Marlborough. Clearing the site will better allow its potential to be realised.”
Both demolitions will be funded from Council’s Forestry and Land Development Reserve.