Christchurch, New Zealand, marked the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that severely damaged part of the city center and killed 185 people yesterday. The Associated Press reports that hundreds of wrecked buildings downtown are still waiting to be torn down so reconstruction can begin in earnest.
The earthquake destroyed thousands of homes and other buildings, causing $25 billion in damage by the government's estimate. About 1,400 buildings there were irreparably damaged, and many still stand. Basic downtown infrastructure like the sewerage system has not yet been repaired, and vital decisions about where to locate major structures in a new-look city—including a proposed sports stadium, library and conference center—remain incomplete.
While the impacted area of the city was fairly small, it housed several notable hotels that contributed to the city's overall tourism scene. The Hotel Grand Chancellor, Christchurch's tallest hotel at 26 stories, and the Carlton Hotel, a listed heritage building, were both significantly damaged during the earthquake, and were later slated for demolition. The Grand Chancellor management reportedly intend to rebuild in the city, although it is unclear if it will be rebuilt on the current site and when this will be completed. The final demolition of the existing structure is slated for later this year.