The future of the iconic Christchurch pub is unknown

The future of the beloved Christchurch quake-damaged Dux de Lux pub remains up in the air after restoration talks failed.

A plan had been proposed by a group of local businessmen to restore the former Dux de Lux, also known as the Student Union Building, but the Arts Center Trust rejected it.

The Dux de Lux has long been an integral part of Christchurch’s social and music scene with infamous Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties featuring some of New Zealand’s biggest bands.

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Famed Andrew Penman of Salmonella Dub says “this was where New Zealand music was encouraged in Christchurch”.

“We (Salmonella Dub) were playing the Dux once a month for a $300 guarantee. We saved that money and that’s what we used to write our first album.

“It’s a big loss.”

Buoyed by fond memories, one of the Redux team, James Stewart, said: “We have considered raising funds to restore the Dux (approximately $10 million) from the people of Christchurch who loved, and then pay that money back over time instead of paying rent to the art center.

Redux asked for 50 years of rent-free to allow investors to be slowly repaid, saying that if the Art Center was able to contribute at any time, they could renegotiate their rent-free period.

They say they just want to see life again in the beleaguered and beloved building.

But after two years of negotiations, The Art Center rejected the proposal with board chairman Murray Dickinson saying “we have felt unable to entrust any asset to any other party for over 50 years”.

“The trust has no funds to restore the student union (which was the Dux). The insurance funds we have spent on restoration have been concentrated on category 1 stone buildings. The student union is category 2.

When asked by One News if it would ever be restored, Mr Dickinson replied ‘hopefully we haven’t thought of the alternatives at this stage’.

The Center for the Arts solicited expressions of interest from third parties to restore the Student Union in 2020 – the Redux proposal was the only one it received.

James Stewart says the rejection came as a surprise and is frustrating.

“It’s demoralizing, so many parts of the city are thriving, restored and vibrant and this one hasn’t been restored, there’s an offer on the table to restore it, but an option to do nothing is more preferable for administrators, which is disconcerting”

Meanwhile, those interviewed by 1News on the streets of Christchurch today unanimously expressed a desire to see the building ‘come to life’.

But when that might happen is unknown.

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