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New City Hotel

The New City Hotel at 227 Colombo Street was built in the Moderne style of architecture in 1930.

Bath Street, 21 April 2012
New City Hotel . Photographer (pht): Cafe Cecil, Contributor (ctb): Cafe Cecil. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

In July 1929, Ballin Brothers, a brewing firm and soft drink manufacturing business, purchased the license for the City Hotel situated in the triangle intersection of High Street and Colombo Street with the intention to transfer the license to a new premises. The site they selected for the new hotel was on the corner of Colombo Street and Bath Street which would allow them to cater to the workers from the nearby industrial area and railway yard on Moorhouse Avenue.

In January 1930, the former shop buildings (including the People’s Market, the Dominion Repair Works and a second hand shop) on the site were demolished. The selected architect, John Steele Guthrie, designed the building in the Moderne style of architecture. The contract for its construction was given to F. Williamson and work commenced in May 1930.

The license for the original City Hotel was extended until October 1930 until it was transferred to the new establishment which was named the New City Hotel. The hotel opened on 27 December 1930 under the proprietorship of Walter James Blake who had previously held the license for the City Hotel.

The Ballin family retained ownership of the building until 1958 when they transferred it to a new company which they had formed with the Friedlander family. This company remained in ownership until 1985.

Under new ownership, the northern façade of the ground floor was modified in the early 1990s.

The building suffered damage from the earthquakes and received a grant from the Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Buildings Fund to assist with restoration. In 2019, property firm Box 112 purchased the building with the intention of retaining the bar and converting the upper floors into boutique backpacker accommodation.