One of the oldest commercial buildings in Taradale is being demolished as Tremain Real Estate redevelops the site it bought on the fringes of the village shopping centre 24 years ago.
Managing director Simon Tremain said the red brick landmark on the corner of Puketapu and Gloucester streets was no longer earthquake compliant.
"With the destruction of so many buildings during the Christchurch earthquake still fresh in our minds, we had the building tested and established we had work to do at this site," Mr Tremain said.
It's thought to have been built between 1920 and 1929 and due to its age and the construction materials used, strengthening the building was cost prohibitive.
"Rather than finding new premises, we decided to rebuild and invest in our local Taradale community."
Mr Tremain's parents, former All Black Kelvin and wife Pamela, bought the building in 1988.
The company had its foundations in the real estate business started by Kelvin Tremain and Ralph Greentree in Napier in 1970 and expanded to the Taradale site in 1978.
Initially supporting her husband behind the scenes, Pamela Tremain began working in her family business in 1981, and was on hand as demolition started yesterday.
"Kelvin and I have always had strong ties with Taradale, having lived there since the late'60s," she said. "When we purchased the building back then, we always knew it would be an investment in our community."
In those early days, Tremains had a mere four agents working out of the offices.
Graham Barrie, who worked in the business for more than 20 years, noted how much the building had changed over the years, recalling the add-on fibrolite men's toilet that encroached into the carpark.
"It was a hair-raising experience if you were in there and someone came tearing into the carpark, and it was certainly not earthquake compliant," he said.
The Christchurch earthquake has changed all that and Simon Tremain is excited about the upcoming development of the site, providing "the most modern office space in Taradale".
There will be three ground floor tenancies and a shared boardroom, he said.
While the demolition and construction are taking place, Tremains' sales are relocated in the former Taradale i-Site building, in the McDonald's Four Square carpark on Lee Road.