Hotel Grand Chancellor, Christchurch

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View of the Grand Chancellor from Cashel Street just minutes after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake occurred

The Hotel Grand Chancellor was a major four star hotel in the centre of Christchurch in New Zealand, one of eleven Hotel Grand Chancellor establishments across Australia and New Zealand. The hotel was located at 161 Cashel Street, close to the city's City Mall central shopping precinct.

For a long time, it was the city's tallest building at 85 metres (279 ft) and 26 storeys,[1] but was overtaken in 2009 by the 86 metres (282 ft) tall Pacific Tower.[2]

The building was built in 1986 for office use by Forbes Construction. In 1996 it was converted to a hotel by Fletchers Construction with 15 floors of hotel accommodation, and 12 floors of car parking, also housing conference facilities for businesses.[1]

Christchurch earthquakes[edit]

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.[3]

A later investigation by the New Zealand Department of Building and Housing indicates that it was unlikely that the staircases (above level 14) would have collapsed had the shear wall not failed.[4]

The building was eventually stabilised and on 4 March it was decided the building would be demolished over the following six months using a complicated deconstruction processes from the top downwards. On 25 May the public was told it would take over a year to demolish.[5]

The roof of the hotel was removed in early November 2011. A protective fence was to be built around the building to catch debris from the demolition and then the demolition of the building was to proceed from January 2012.[6]

The Hotel Grand Chancellor management intend on rebuilding a hotel in Christchurch, although it is unclear if it will be rebuilt on the current site and when it will be rebuilt. The hotel was demolished by Ward Demolition.


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 ft) high and have 12 floors in the hotel and 5 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.[7]

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.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Hotel Grand Chancellor". Emporis GmbH. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Christchurch's tallest buildings - Top 20". Emporis GmbH. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Hotel Grand Chancellor on verge of collapse". The New Zealand Herald. 23 February 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Structural Performance of Christchurch CBD Buildings in the 22 February 2011 Aftershock" (PDF). Structural Performance of Christchurch CBD Buildings in the 22 February 2011 Aftershock. New Zealand Department of Building and Housing.
  5. ^ Hartevelt, John (5 March 2011). "Christchurch earthquake: Demolitions key to CBD access". Retrieved 7 March 2011. Updated
  6. ^ "Hotel's roof is off - now just 28 floors of concrete to go". 26 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  7. ^ McDonald, Liz (23 September 2013). "12-storey building gets go-ahead". The Press. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  8. ^ McDonald, Liz (2014-04-18). "New plans for Hotel Grand Chancellor site". Retrieved 18 April 2014.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rydges Hotel (former Noah's)
Tallest building in Christchurch
Succeeded by
Pacific Tower

Coordinates: 43°31′58″S 172°38′20″E / 43.5328°S 172.6390°E / -43.5328; 172.6390