Yesterday afternoon, as I headed through city up last the Skytower complex, there was a strange atmosphere to be felt. Traffic lights weren't working in various parts of the area and parts of the road were being cordoned off. Little did I know, the historic Palace Hotel building, which I have thoughtlessly walked underneath many a time, would soon be demolished. Within a short hour, the Palace Hotel changed from historic to history.
Being right across from the Skytower's entrance square, a crowd gathered to watch the drama of such an occasion. Indeed, unknowingly witnessed was a sampler of the most dramatic form of urban change - a historic building in the throes of death, a decision to remove it out of necessity. As the machines ripped traumatically into the old building, an absence was left that is a rare find within the CBD. It reminded me of Haussman's urban renovation of Paris in 1852 where whole streets underwent this form of urban surgery, albeit in a much smaller scale here in Auckland. The new possibilities for such a vital area of Auckland tourism laid before us - the ongoing conversion to an old brothel uncertain in it's tracks. So where too? Is this a chance for urban regeneration in a rather shabby tourist district? Or will urban life merely resume in New Zealand's sleepy sort of way?