Dunedin Hotel

Who is behind the resource consent application? Find out here.
How do I make a submission on the application? Go to DCC webpage

Published on May 13, 2012 by DunedinNZofficial

Plans for a five star, 28-storey luxury hotel, proposed for Dunedin’s waterfront, have been revealed at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The hotel will position the city as a high-end tourism destination and provide a major boost to the region’s economic development.

The proposed hotel will be the tallest building in Dunedin by a significant margin providing uninterrupted views across the city either to Swampy Summit or the Otago peninsula. It will comprise both hotel and apartment accommodation, a swimming pool, a rooftop restaurant, car parks and a penthouse presidential suite.

The $100 million development is currently going through the resource consent process and is destined for completion by 2015.

Or so it says at YouTube.

UPDATE 28.5.12
The city council is pledging to put out the red carpet and not the red tape.

“Don’t let us become the New Zealand equivalent of Springfield from the Simpsons TV show” –Andrew Metcalfe

ODT Online news and opinion:
26.5.12 Tough time for builders in city
18.5.12 Links to city sealed hotel development
13.5.12 Hotel proposal
12.5.12 Hotel developers remain a mystery
11.5.12 $100m hotel for Dunedin waterfront
11.5.12 Harbour hotel proposed for Dunedin

Related Post and Comments:
8.9.12 Waterfront Hotel #Dunedin (Applicant names?)
7.9.12 Waterfront hotel: DCC to notify resource consent application
26.10.11 Dunedin Harbourside: DCC “caved”

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

77 responses to “Dunedin Hotel

  1. Rob Hamlin

    My word, a search on the history of this site, its owner and the history of their dealings with the DCC in the law courts over the last five years with regard to this site turns up some interesting stuff. If I was Dave Cull, I would do my homework on this one and then issue a careful press release – Here’s my suggestion – Go on Dave – I dare you….


    “We are very excited that a major investor has the confidence in the future of Dunedin to consider investing in a large five star hotel. As this will be the largest single investment in Dunedin for many years, the Council will make every endeavour to ensure that this $100 million investment is made on a site that will ensure the best outcomes for both the City and for the investors concerned. The land identified at present has a Government valuation of only $500,000, around 0.5% of the total proposed investment. There appear to be issues of both vehicular and pedestrian access and location relative to major facilities in the City, and the size of the plot means that a very tall building is envisaged that would require a specific consent.

    Furthermore, the City has identified a clear strategic need for a major arterial route running through the City and linking the State Highway One and the State Highway Eighty Eight. A considerable investment has already been made with regard to this arterial route when the SH88 was rerouted around the Stadium. Another part of this proposal involves an upgrade of Portsmouth Drive and Wharf Street to accommodate high volume traffic. This proposed structure would create a bottleneck between the proposed structure and the flyover that would be impossible to ameliorate once the structure was in place, placing this investment and the future economic growth of the City at risk.

    The City has also made major investments in conference, sports and cultural recreational facilities in recent years, and would be very keen to see these investments fully integrated with the proposed five star accommodation complex for the mutual benefit of all involved. In addition to the identified Harbour Basin site, open sites are available within appropriately zoned areas that also have good access and a footprint that is fully compatible with a large five star hotel. These sites are also immediately adjacent to both the Forsyth Barr Stadium and the Town Hall complex, the latter also giving quick and safe access to the Town Hall, Casino, Theatres and other downtown attractions.

    The larger size of these sites also means that a hotel of the required capacity could be constructed with a much lower heightline. The existence of these perfectly satisfactory alternative sites means that the city can see no particular need to agree to modify or to breach zoning plans that are already in place with regard to the proposed Wharf Street site.

    The Council welcomes this proposal to bring five star accommodation to Dunedin, and we will work actively to see its rapid and trouble free implementation. We look forward to making contact with and entertaining these investors in person and discussing their vision and requirements directly with them. As Sir Eion Edgar is a well-regarded community leader and visionary, and is clearly in contact with these individuals, we will extend all facilities to him in order to facilitate this process. The World should know that Dunedin is a City known for its red carpet rather than for its red tape, and can truly say: ‘Well Done Dunedin!”

    Dave Cull (Mayor)

    • Elizabeth

      A great pity, Rob, that the consent application is already lodged at City Planning… Of course, DCC may require further information from the applicant and their resource management consultants prior to a decision on whether to process the application as non notified, or notified depending on the synthetic nature of the carpet AND tape, being red.

  2. Calvin Oaten

    As Ricky Gervias would say: “Yer avin’ me on”

  3. Andreas Makarewitsch

    Just get a redundant cruise ship (moderate size- there must one or two floating around, as they’re superseded by more humongous sized models) and moor it in a specially dredged-out berth. All I can say is, albeit as an occasional visitor, ‘There goes the waterfront’: so crass, imperious, vulgar. I suppose the sun’s glare reflecting up the bay off the monolith’s side each sunny morning has been factored in? Great water-storage roof-top design, though.
    5 Star…5 Star…5 Star…mmmmm.
    Must remind Dougal Stevenson to revise the narration of ‘Southern Attractions’ if it’s built……

    • Elizabeth

      Andreas, I remember Dougal’s ‘From stadium to slogan’ on RNZ National (Notes from the South, 12.12.11).

      Got the stadium, hotel the slogan.
      “Love Dunedin” and all such un-right DCC/Tourism Dunedin attempts at pretending we’re something we’re not.

      The boat would be good, POL’s Geoff Plunket will shell out for the dredging. Add a few junks and we’ve reinvented Harbourside as we know it. True to the spirit, this will nearly achieve all that our lost leader Jim Harland might’ve hoped for.

  4. anonymous

    It’s still f’ugly. This is clearly dreamt up by a man and had something other than a mouse in his hand.

  5. Peter

    But…. will it get up?

  6. Anon

    Will the existing consent for an office building which includes residential apartments along with the no height restriction provision of the industrial zoning mean that the DCC could get away with a non-notified consent?

    • Elizabeth

      I doubt it, has to go non notified due to the potential number of affected parties and the considerable public interest, for starters. The existing consent is for a development with a much smaller impact on city infrastructure and transportation planning, and that’s before the breadth of all other planning issues for that site. Mind you, DCC is in full surprise (cowboy) mode at the minute due to council finances sinking into the harbour sludge.

  7. Andreas Makarewitsch

    Hi Elizabeth, am looking forward to another quick trip across the pond for a brief stay starting shortly; will aim to continue going camera snap-happy around Dunners again as much as possible to capture a disappearing era. Chairs.

    • Elizabeth

      Sorry Andreas, distracted by computer issues! Disappearing era is right. In a poor little unique town like this. The great ransacking ensues, thanks to the fold from OBHS.

  8. Phil

    Like Mitre 10, it should be publicly notified. Affected parties cannot be identified. Like Mitre 10, should and would are 2 different things.

    • Elizabeth

      Some suggestions on affected parties given the scale and impacts of this development proposal – whether in support, neutral or opposing but who may wish to pursue conditions:

      Starting with owner of 18 Fryatt St, which is Otago Regional Council (and likely its leaseholder The Customhouse – but not on competitive grounds as the RMA can’t consider these)
      ORC on other grounds…
      NZRC, owner of railway corridor underneath tracks
      NZHPT – Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area, Archaeology
      33 Thomas Burns St – Russell Lund; Loan and Mercantile Trust
      25 Fryatt St – T W and J A Campbell Limited; Wharf Hotel
      12 Wharf St – Chalmers Properties Limited; Rattray Wharf
      2 Birch St – Schoolhouse Productions Limited; Plato
      Monarch Cruises

  9. Phil

    Who has fallen so foul of DCC that they are worried their approval process might meet resistance should their identity be known ? Eion, Laurie or Wayne ? A current Councillor, Trust member, or a former CEO ?

  10. Anonymous

    Oh god that stakeholder is FULL of it.

  11. Rob Hamlin

    It’s hard to see that anybody local has this kind of money to throw at a hotel in this City. The finance companies did (sort of) – but they’re all dead or in jail. If an investor had $100 million to spend, they are likely to have been pretty shrewd in acquiring it. Given that, would they dump it into a half million dollar bootlace block of land with signficant issues, and without getting in touch with the authorities and others to check out the alternatives? A couple more million spent on land might leverage the remaining $100 million spent on improvements out of all proportion to its purchase cost. Not to mention an easier ride through the consents process.

    No. The landowner and the lawyer have the right to claim publicly that they have a 100 million dollar investor hiding in the lavatory or wherever. However, until they produce this strangely elusive marvel, and one can see the colour of their eyes, I have an equally public right to express an opinion on whether I believe in them or not – and just at the moment, in the absence of any credible evidence and for the reasons stated above, I don’t. I am prepared to believe in Santa Claus and all of his elves if they show up in person – But…. Without the capital, Elizabeth, the consent status is irrelevant.

    • Elizabeth

      Not quite Rob, although I totally get your point. The RMA process is not about who has what money. The RMA can’t consider that.

      The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) determines how natural and physical resources in New Zealand can be used, developed or protected. Natural and physical resources include all aspects of the environment – rivers, lakes, coastal and geothermal areas, land, forests and farmland and air, as well as the built environment.

      Briefly: the RMA promotes the sustainable management of New Zealand’s natural and physical resources.

      In this case, 41 Wharf St, the RMA references the District Plan and Regional Policy Statements and Regional Plan matters. And potentially, the draft Dunedin Spatial Plan.

      • Elizabeth


        As I predicted DCC staff in cahoots with private interests have pushed the warehouse project through quick smart. Ratepayers will bear the cost of Council’s forthcoming largesse to the select owners of private property: subsidies, rates relief and incentives, oh yeah, and amenity upgrades. The City Development Team and friends, including the mayor and GD councillors (along with those amazing business-savvy prostadium councillors…) want the foundations well and truly in before the next local body elections. Surprise.

        Private developers using DCC as their BANK, again – for private gain?
        If we weren’t facing such high levels of council debt, ‘constant’ council borrowing to pay interest, and council’s capitalisation of interest – directly impacting on everyone’s rates, and thus on rents – I might think PPPs were a good thing; but the council has moved far beyond prudent and conservative management of ratepayer funds, as required by the LGA. The Auditor General’s Office won’t get out of bed on the Dunedin City Council’s true position. It’s a matter of time.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Fri, 18 May 2012
          Links to city sealed hotel development
          By Dene Mackenzie
          Strong links to Dunedin and the University of Otago appear to have sealed the deal for Chinese developers to decide to invest $100 million into a new 28-storey hotel on the city’s waterfront.[…]It is understood the wife of the developer is a University of Otago graduate who went on to work at Dunedin accountancy firm WHK, where she worked with present managing principal Otago, Matt Taylor. Mr Taylor is believed to be close to those brokering the deal between the developers and the property owner Arthur Barnett Properties Ltd, a company controlled by Dunedin man Tim Barnett. The ODT was told the woman recently married and her “relationship” with Dunedin meant she wanted to give something back to the city.
          Read more

  12. ormk

    I agree with Rob. The hotel plan seems entirely fantastical. It is marginally more credible than Nasa’s plan to base the launch pad for their new space plane in Mosgiel. But only marginally.

  13. Hype O'Thermia

    She didn’t observe much about the built character of Dunedin while she was here.

    • Elizabeth

      I love it that Don Anderson says there are no environmental effects. Another of the cowboy posse. I mean, what sort of consulting fee can he earn from this and the whole area south of the basin (his dream) towards his early retirement to Queenstown Lakes, or was it Gold Coast. Can I point out the difference, folks? The difference between non productive property speculation and the kind of investment that spurs New Zealand’s export-led economic recovery. Oh right, best not mention that in a small town without a significant economy of its own. We’re not Christchurch, before or after the quake swarm – we’re a retirement village for those who can’t afford to join Eion, Malcolm and Michael (and their guest Michael) in the rarefied alpine air to the west.

      • Elizabeth

        My other question would be how that money was earned, on whose backs has the $100m been afforded in that unbalanced land we seem to think should be our salvation. Crap. She deserves a paint ball or three. Or a b**** slapping.

  14. Hype O'Thermia

    I, on the other hand, am delighted with “no environmental effects”. A strong argument for me and all the other “little people” who want to make a little alteration, build a shed etc etc and get a swarm of ‘crats and form-fillers crawling all over us. A damned handy benchmark for how far you can go without environmental effects, doubtless this is what the DCC intended

  15. Robert Hamlin

    I think that the ODT’s article is a very sweet little ‘once upon a time’ story. A bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears – As a naysayer moaning minnie, I don’t personally believe that Goldilocks and her three bears, or the CST’s private stadium funding for that matter, ever actually existed – and I never have. The actual reliable evidence that has been provided by the authors to support the reality of any of these three tales is about the same.

    However, some things in this article do have to be taken seriously due to plentiful supporting evidence of past expensive outcomes involving our wonderful elected representatives, their advisors and our land banking/speculating community. I note the comment in this article that some modification to the roading will be required – You betcha – and it ain’t going to be cheap. I wonder who will be paying for that?

    It may be relevant that the article states that the identity of the mystery investors will only be revealed when construction on the hotel starts. I presume that this personal unveiling and the construction of the actual hotel will only start when the ‘investments’ in the roading structure improving access to and thus the value of the site itself have been made/committed – quite possibly by the DCC.

    Were I the Council, and I was asked to ‘invest’ in improving road access to this privately owned site, I would require ‘a’ the identity of the investors, ‘b’ proof of capital capability/commitment, and ‘c’ a down deposit from either them or the landowner to the value of the roading improvements made with public funds (cash or cleared cheque, not promises). This money to be repaid wholly or in part when the hotel as proposed opened for business and its economic impact actually started to happen.

    This requirement would not be rude – simply prudent. Chances of this move to protect community money actually happening if this really is the proposal that emerges – Pretty much zippo I’m afraid, based on prior track record…

    • Elizabeth

      Rob, the councillors still have no idea (I solidly gather) how much the SH88 realignment, and now the redesignation, are about to cost – all things considered. Cash-loaded chimeras being what they are, no wonder the dash to the construction phase at 41 Wharf St, by the good old boys and their Goldilocks. Sure hope she’s pretty, and not a wart-faced hag – unlike the proposed slab.

  16. Anonymous

    A heartwarming tale.
    “What would you like as a wedding present?”
    “A 5-star hotel in Dunedin, my love”

    In addition to your roading capital requirements, Rob, you might want to add an annual payment from the hotel operators to the city for the debilitating effect of that site development on the road/rail corridor.

    There are sufficient facts in the tale of Goldilocks to verify the ODT story.
    Female, Uni Otago accounting graduate, went on to WHK, worked with the principal, left “recently”. Nice exercise for someone with some time on their hands.

  17. Peter

    Who are these mystery developers? For all we know a Chinese Triad’s money might be involved.I guess THEY have the doh! What’s the big secret?

  18. Carol

    I’m not against progress in Dunedin but this building looks like the ugly buildings on the Gold Coast that have made those parts of Oz look tacky. If it was to be built alongside the Green Island tip, I wouldn’t be concerned at all

  19. Hype O'Thermia

    Ugly, Carol? Tacky? That’s a hell of an understatement. It would be ugly anywhere. Passable if tucked into the middle of a precinct full of other somewhat less ugly larger buildings – passable because it wouldn’t be noticed. On the chosen site, ugh, bleah, pray for an army blowing-things-up exercise gone wrong.
    And people complain about being able to see Everitts metal recycling heap when they are driving past!

    • Elizabeth

      “I just think that at some point we’ve got to consider the impact [on rural ratepayers] of the decisions we make to provide greater service levels for urban Dunedin.”

      ### ODT Online Sat, 19 May 2012
      Business tourist fee?
      By Debbie Porteous
      The council will investigate the possibility of increasing some business’ rates to cover costs incurred by tourists to the council. The idea was broached in response to a late submission to the council’s draft budget process which suggested a visitor levy be introduced. Cr Andrew Noone agreed with Cr Jinty MacTavish that it was a good idea. The council’s rates-funding working party should investigate increasing the economic development tourism rate, he said. The move could ultimately reduce rates for farmers and lifestylers.
      Read more

      WHAT a good thought, and just in time to hit all those touristy tower dwellers (not sure about the unit-titlers though) about to ravage our fair city. All we need now is the corporate jets of the oil and gas executives arriving as we open up the Great Southern Basin and head into Antartica with exploration. If only the airport could fit their planes. Mind you, there’s always the decrepit helipad off Kitchener Street. We could do that up, I suppose. Maybe we need more rooftop landing spaces on Don’s South-of-the-Basin Riviera, something to tempt people from Christchurch international gateway airport, Eionland or Fiordland? The great spot of convenience! Man, Tim Barnett likes to play Monopoly – look what 41 Wharf St is spawning. Incredible wealth for everyone! We’re finally on the map Dunedin! Between the Stadium and the Slab we are SOLVED. A dead hit.

  20. DaveM

    The ODT can be bemusingly precious. In my comment on this issue they cut out what I thought was a polite and reasonable criticism: ‘The ODT has done its readers a disservice by barely referencing the design controversy (which seems to be the talk of the town) in its coverage to date.’

  21. Let em go. It’ll be funny as seeing how much money the consultants can eat up putting a building of that size in a swamp.

  22. Elizabeth

    I’ve been distracted. Today I was woken up by ORT. The letter by Diane Isaacs (page 10) is accompanied by a graphic of the proposed Slab. Photo supplied by Animation Research Ltd/Virtual Eye. They who for rendering ease conveniently annihilated surrounding built heritage, to push into “our” favour the see-through apparition of newness! That they work out of the historic Garrison Hall in Dowling Street, and formerly, the much admired Public Trust Building in lower Moray Place, is the subtlest irony only cartoonists are good for.

  23. Anonymous

    Probe the Eion Edgar/WHK/Murray Acker/ORFU connection a bit deeper too.

    • Elizabeth

      Had to laugh…
      One of the Blis shareholders is the now infamous ‘Shotgun’ donor to ACT:

      Louis Mervyn CRIMP

      • Elizabeth

        Getting back to Anonymous’ comment:
        “Probe the Eion Edgar/WHK/Murray Acker/ORFU connection a bit deeper too.”


        – Eion Edgar is Vice President of the ORFU Board; he is also board Chairman for Queenstown Resort College (note: Mark Taylor, Deputy Chairman of QRC board, is a consultant with WHK in Queenstown*)
        – Murray Acker is a Director on the ORFU Board; and a Principal at WHK Invercargill branch
        – WHK = chartered accountancy firm, business consultants, tax advice

        *Edgar and WHK have a number of link-ups across various entities, see google search

        “Accountancy firm WHK had worked on the creditors’ agreement with the union and was due to complete payments in the next few weeks.”

        “Work would begin in the next couple of weeks, with accountancy firm WHK, to talk to the small creditors.”

        More digging to do…….

  24. Elizabeth

    In this week’s D Scene editorial Mike Houlahan asks ‘So, do we really need this hotel?’ (page 8)
    You spend a fortnight on the Gold Coast, and come back to discover you didn’t need to head overseas to see massive high-rise hotels, they are coming to a town near you.[…]At a rough guess, the “house full” sign would go up once a year, if that. {continues} #bookmark

  25. Elizabeth

    Rang City Planning this afternoon, no news yet on when the resource consent application for the proposed hotel will be notified. The council has written to the applicant, via Don Anderson, requesting further information. So to ensure the public receives the information it is likely to need in making submissions. For example, the council seeks visuals to show how the proposal sits within the wider city context (landscape values); although this is not the limit of the total information sought.

    • Elizabeth

      Peter who often contributes here mentioned the ODT letter to the editor this morning by Suzanne MJ Kallil of Brighton, which colourfully says how wonderful the proposed hotel will be, as if we have something like the Sydney, London and Melbourne docksides here for the win. I don’t think even Jim Harland would hazard that far (although early on he showed me his pics from portside Boston, which I’d visited). Anyway, I didn’t catch the glowing letter of approbation until nearly 30 minutes ago over a late coffee in town. I wondered if the initial M stood for Malcolm. Guess I’ll never know.

      The last time I wondered if a letter had a vague Malcolm connection was the only letter ODT published in praise of his honour of some sort bestowed (not the knighthood); letters that carried a negative view of the achievement did not survive the ODT filters. If you sponsor the East Stand you can’t slag off the CST chairman easily, not using other people’s poison pens.

      Decorum in Dunedin.

  26. Peter

    Suzanne’s letter of support for the hotel ( and stadium) is in the ‘Build It and They Will Come’ category. It’s also the kind of thinking where if we build it big, punch above our weight, etc etc etc, people will take notice of us and be impressed.No recognition of what we already have, and could further develop, is what impresses outside people.Most of us can skite about Dunedin without having a 28 storey hotel to scream about. Surely.
    Yep, there will be jobs to build it but that was the case with the stadium. Look where THAT has got us to this point in time!

  27. Hype O'Thermia

    It’s so-o-o-o ugly!

    Taking notice: “Eew, Dunedin people don’t just have BAD taste, they 500 percent haven’t a CLUE. You’d never believe how naff!”
    “They will come” to point, snigger, post insulting photoshop parodies, and animations on Youtube e.g. Dunedin pictured as Easter Island with raggy-kilted knuckle-draggers worshipping amid a circle of butt-fugly monster monuments to the spawn of money and vulgarity.

    Did we escape the Chase Corporation’s mirrorglass era only to end up with this so many decades later?

    • Elizabeth

      Oh don’t bring that up Hype, went to Auckland architecture school with the progeny of Chase and Fletcher in the glory days before the Crash :(
      My housemate Mainzeal crane driver was cute though :)

      • Elizabeth

        Naaah, I don’t believe it, on the subject of tall buildings??
        Monday’s winning search engine term at What if?—

        *ken ring dunedin earthquake*

        • Elizabeth

          When the hotel project was announced on 11 May, I noted there wasn’t a whimper from Earl and Stuart’s Scenic Circle Group. Thus I took a look at Arthur Barnett Properties Ltd, owned by Tim Barnett (owner of the development site at 41 Wharf St). Registered office: G S McLauchlan & Co.

          GSM is a business advisory and chartered accountancy practice. Dunedin and Queenstown.

        • Elizabeth

          From offshore, Lee Vandervis emails:

          The $100 million foreshore hotel proposal makes me think it is the 1st of April every time it comes up.

          $100 million is not near enough for 28 storeys, [Otago University Library cost half that as an add-on]
          There is not enough land to park it on.
          There is no parking.
          The land is bog down to possibly 60 metres before you get solid. [The ORC ex-office-site nearby is 60 metres deep bog]
          There is no access to town because of rail-lines, and no access to the Harbour because of a 4 lane highway and bridge, and no other access.
          There is no 5-star clientele that could make it viable.

          Any one of the above reasons should kill such a proposal.
          [Mind you the Stadium was similarly stupid – but stupid with public money is not so rare].

  28. Anonymous

    Also by comparison, the University Plaza building cost $45M.
    Otago House (the current tallest in Dunedin with 13 floors) is on a site measuring 50m by 40m. That site has the advantage of being on rock. 41 Wharf St is 110x25m and has the disadvantage of being built on the fill that used to be where Otago House is now (Bell Hill).
    The UN Building in New York is 92mx22m. This would leave enough for a 3m driveway past reception and 20mx20m of car parks. If you could actually build right up to the rail corridor without encroaching during construction.
    Although, the designers have probably thought of the parking issue and will combine that with the challenge of having to dig down 60m to reach foundation and have 10 levels of underground parking.

    • Elizabeth

      I love harbourside tanks! And fulltime pumps.

    • Elizabeth

      My reply to Lee:
      Glad you’ve no idea what the hotel is about, too. We’ve all been surmising but nothing seems logical – maybe it’s just that, illogical but ‘someone’ wants to give it a go. Otherwise referred to locally as the “stadium complex”, a strain of the world-wide affliction – architectural ego mania, status symbols and penile projections. Not sure how you keep it out of our sleepy hollow where short men live – like Chin, Farry, Barnett & Co.
      Or Cull, for that matter.

      I await sight of the resource consent application, with no sense of gay abandon.

  29. Anonymous

    The building, whether it occurs or not, might just be a by-product like the stadium. The stakeholders are very experienced now and will be looking to make the rort more efficient next time around. So offer the bait of big development and the council wets itself with excitement. Initially it is pimped and flogged in the Otago Daily Times as mostly private-funded but then something crops up requiring significant investment of public-funding. Suddenly we’re caught up in another land buy up lolly scramble and giveaways of high yield bonds. Then wham bam thank you ma’am, the stakeholders get to violate Dunedin all over again.

    The horror made possible by stupid or cunning Stadium Councillors should be criminal but they continue to get away with it. No accountability for their reckless decisions is incredible. Some days it feels like a sort of impossible fiction… we have the Big Ger Cafferty of our Edinburgh running the show from Christchurch, The Chairman who paints a nice guy picture from afar, supported by Wee Media Moguls and a whole heap of henchmen running around like mafia, taking their cut, spinning webs and putting on the screws if anyone gets in the way.

    They’ll do it again. That’s the crux of the problem. We end up with a debt-ridden shell of a city, probably run by well-meaning people in the end who can’t do anything because of that debt, a stadium with a roof and a whole heap of daft glass boxes.

  30. James

    Cr Vandervis, seems ill-informed. Rather than comparing the proposed hotel with the university’s buildings, the Sentinel in Takapuna might be a better comparison. At 30 storeys tall, with a 30m x 30m footprint, its total floor area is slightly less than the proposed hotel; it’s also fitted out for residential purposes: rentals & apartments. It cost $60 million to build. While building on fill is more difficult, it’s not at all impossible. So it seems somewhat plausible that the hotel could be built within the budget.

    This is not at all to say that the proposal is serious or viable, merely that their estimates were computed by someone capable of mathematical calculation. Parking is surmountable. Based on the Sentinel, shading is a non-issue. Access is still problematic, but to my mind the real problem is the orientation of the hotel. Even if the five star clientele exists, the hotel faces the wrong way.

  31. Hype O'Thermia

    The hotel doesn’t seem to make sense.
    What if the hotel project is a feint?
    One might speculate why, by whom. Quo bloody vadis yet again.
    What if someone owned some useless land that wasn’t going to turn a profit in the foreseeable? Might have been a good buy at the time if things had turned out, but now, just a pain to own. How to increase its value… what if it were very close to a projected high value development? Anyone with an eye to retail and services for all those 5-star visitors would see that its value “could only increase, and SOON!” Result – vendor quits unwanted property at a nice price well above valuation pre-hotel announcement.
    A burger chain, I was told by someone doing an MBA course who had read about it, makes more money out of property than their fast “food”. They charge high rentals which businesses are happy to pay because the “food” attracts large numbers of people who are willing to pay on impulse for dreck – exactly the demographic a city centre retailer wants. Bearing that in mind a high status hotel proposal “bringing prosperity to Dunedin” is the ideal bait for those whose imaginations translate that to “bringing riches to ME because I’m a genius entepreneur, I spotted an opportunity when this past-it geezer didn’t realise what a valuable section he was selling, ha ha.”
    I have dreamed up an even more improbable scenario … but this’ll do for now :)

  32. Phil

    Lee was never very bright when it came to estimating construction costs. I remember his expert call, being the son of a builder (whatever that was supposed to imply), with regard to the cost of building public toilets. He really needs to keep focused on what he knows. I do agree with him with regard to the so called demand for such a facility. As the stadium has already proven, we are not Auckland. We don’t have the population or commercial base to support the hotel as a permanent place of residence for people. With direct flights into Queenstown, we’re no longer a “gateway” or a route to anywhere of note. Anyone coming here has to specifically want to be here. It would be interesting to find out how many tourists come back to Dunedin for a second visit. I’m sure there’s the odd tale, but that’s about it. Everything that Dunedin has, that no other tourist destination has, can be seen in a 48 hour visit. I struggle to see overseas visitors buying these apartments as time share or long stay investment holiday properties. The climate is nothing unique, so that’s not going to be a drawcard. Not rubbishing the town, but if we’re looking at a target audience from Asia, they can fly to London quicker than they can fly to Dunedin. Just doesn’t stack up.

  33. Anonymous

    Interesting that the Sentinel in Takapuna is mentioned. I remember when it was being built by Multiplex in 2007-2008.


    – the consent was non-notified, because the local council was captured by the idea of having a tall, landmark building close to the waterfront
    – within a year of construction, the price of apartments had been cut by 40-50% as no takers
    – the development company was liquidated last year, with investors taking the hit
    – the guy who bought the penthouse for $11M said he can’t stay long in New Zealand because of high taxation (I know how he feels)
    – and then he didn’t pay for it anyway

    which tipped the development company over.

    Yeah, let’s build one of those.

  34. Hype O'Thermia

    It sounds brilliant, Anonymous, just the kind of thing the DCC will be wetting its collective undies to have the opportunity to underwrite.

  35. Peter

    Phil. A lot of things you mention probably don’t stack up, but hasn’t this got a familiar ring about it? Dare I mention it. The stadium. This doesn’t stop it from going ahead….after the ‘consultation’ process, of course. My, I am sounding cynical, am I not?
    Sounds to me, if people don’t like potentially corrupt mystery developers constructing an eyesore in our midst, we dispense with the sham DCC consultation process and go for direct action. Get down and dirty in other words. Nothing else seems to work in Dunedin nowadays. But have Dunedin people got the spirit to do anything like this?

  36. Amanda

    It takes people getting together and co-ordinating. Collective action. Sidestepping the media silence. Making it uncomfortable for the great powers that be. But also doing this continuously into the future, not going back to sleep once we seem to have non corrupt people on council. The council has systematically drowned this city in debt and now wants to sell off our assets due to the very debt the council created (or Hudson’s cabal).

  37. Anonymous

    The people behind the council’s latest public-private hotel venture (aka. empire building) might be a little more obvious than the above. Just look to the bottom left corner of this photo for a potential “private” client:


    Of course this is a win-win for our civic leaders.

    It would provide more capacity to store sports cars in council car parks and it’s just a short elevator ride to attend to other duties, therefore reducing the need for those “business expenses” while on overseas junkets.

    Okay, jokes aside, at least it makes the photo a little funnier when you look at it again…

  38. Hype O'Thermia

    Do we have an example of left hand & right hand unwittingly hurtling off in separate directions, resulting in more nasty injuries to the council budget?
    What about all the under-used heritage buildings, what could the same amount of money achieve i.e. deliver out of the objectives of this latest Empire Growth Operation (EGO) that are actually needed and that someone not the DCC shuffling itself to justify job creation will actually pay a commercial return on?
    And that’s a wee point that could do with, excuse the use of unfashionable concepts, unbiased critical faculties and due diligence spelled diligence not negligence, isn’t it?
    St Malc the Prophet told us the stadium was going to be (a) largely privately funded and (b) used by [list as long as his arm which is alas not long enough to reach his wallet] thus of immeasurable value >> returns to Dunedin.

    Been there, been done like a dinner.

    • Elizabeth

      This would explain why Wall Street is so profitable (cough). And appears that we will get more buildings that resemble the stolid design of Dunedin’s central police station, Great King St. Oh the joy. Do we have Baker Garden, the architect husband of a city councillor, and others, who are friends of Mr Clark lining up to the side of his throne begging for favours. Didn’t we all decide City Property should be shut down, to stop council competing in the local market? This is where Dave Cull looks like a common somethingorother.

  39. Anonymous

    It is quite likely Robert Clark still suffers under the delusion of Harland’s Vision or this is just another stitch-up like Peter Chin’s so-called Wall St Mall. If anything chief executive Paul Orders should be asking this department how much it has cost to develop the idea up to its unveiling in the Otago Daily Times (once again at a time counter to D Scene’s publishing schedule).

    I’m also (safely) assuming the architectural, consent and construction costs will be borne out by the public side of this arrangement and the ratepayer will carry the burden of responsibility and accountability again.

    It’s an interesting number – no doubt needing to be doubled if actuals were being considered – which is similar to the $15M expected for the [cable car] project. There would be a lot more people following that with interest than these visions of more parking, hotels and that gondolier.

    Such an idea would probably be considered a public-public partnership but the Stakeholders of this city would have something to say to their Stadium Councillors on that matter.

  40. Hype O'Thermia

    Nail solidly on head, Anonymous: “asking this department how much it has cost to develop the idea up to its unveiling in the Otago Daily Times”. It’s bad enough having these ning-nong projects floated by staff desperate to demonstrate that they aren’t surplus to requirements, and then taking up time and effort before being consigned to the wagger-pagger-pagger WE HOPE, but how on earth do they get the time and money to canter off in several directions employing their own and other people’s efforts at our expense to develop these “visions”?
    Come on Paul Orders, ask the questions and demand straight answers. Permanent staffers’ make-work is a luxury we ratepayers cannot afford.
    Spell it out – C-O-R-E B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S until further notice. If no work, no job.
    Another thing, be prudent about hiring – no payout for contract not being renewed, no “income for life or golden handshake in lieu” and no bonuses for doing the job well – that’s what shelf-stackers are expected to do with no bonus, it’s the minimum acceptable standard. Definitely no bonuses for being on the premises, breathing.
    There is no global shortage of most of the employment categories in the DCC, getting a job AT ALL in one’s field is currently its own bonus and salaries offered now should reflect this.

  41. Hype O'Thermia

    “The total value of city property’s $500 million building portfolio would also increase once upgrades of the Town Hall and Otago Settlers Museum were completed, and once other regular revaluations were completed.
    That could result in the value of the $315 million operational portfolio division, including the Town Hall and other civic buildings, rising “closer to $400 million”, Mr Clark said.”
    Is that valuation relevant to anything except the insurance company? They are not realisable assets, are they?
    “Managing”, painting & papering etc a 4 bedroom house valued at $1.5m is the same job as doing the same when the house is equally weatherproof but valued at $200,000, isn’t it?
    Aren’t a city’s museums etc rather like a person’s gold fillings or titanium implants after a bad fracture, their book worth may be high but their exchange value is zero, short of drastic action we hope never to see imposed on people again.

  42. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 10 Jul 2012
    Waterfront hotel plans proceeding
    By Chris Morris
    Plans for a $100 million, 28-storey hotel on Dunedin’s waterfront are progressing, despite a decision by the Dunedin City Council to suspend the project’s consent application while seeking more information. Council resource consent manager Alan Worthington yesterday confirmed the application by Betterways Advisory Ltd had been suspended pending further information from those behind the hotel development.
    Read more

    • Elizabeth

      This is Dunedin, right. Play secret agents and lose public support for the project you think you can bulldoze through consenting. Are Mr Roger and Mr Anderson tied up with the brash legal firm from Auckland (Queen St style, joke – remember the Q St cow cockies??), that’s into Asian property development, parroting they will bring changes to Dunedin’s skyline. They look young and stupid enough (in their pretty suits and makeup) to at least share the same ‘aspiration’ as the newlywed wench wanting a slab hotel at the steamer basin.

      Or are the local lads just trying to roger DCC Planning.

      Want to see a jumped up superficial website, put the word law after queen city in your google search.

      [thanks skyscrapercity]

  43. Hype O'Thermia

    Slab, that’s such a good word. It’s as out-of-place as a horse in a dance studio or, for that matter, a dance studio in a race track. It could be plonked down anywhere and look fugly unless in the middle of a whole lot of other equally slabby expressions of wealth devoid of sense of proportion, style, environment or any of the attributions that go to make up “taste”.

  44. Lindsay

    I am in two minds about The Shard. As a modern glass tower it is an interesting piece of design. If I saw a picture of it in Doha, where those gypsy wedding people go to practice architecture, then I might like it more, but it jars a bit in that location and that is the major problem with this hotel monstrosity. The design seems to be without a single redeeming feature. It gives the impression it is about to fall over (or is that just wishful thinking).
    That weird arch design at the base looks like an afterthought and what the hell is that odd wavy recessed bit placed at random on one side.
    There is a place for large glass office-type buildings whether you like them or not – usually in amongst other large glass office-type buildings. The former Wilson Neil building is just another featureless glass tower, but it doesn’t really bother anyone (well me anyway) where it is situated. The problem with architects is when they want to make a statement, rather than a building.
    When I saw the artist’s impressions of this slab, I was sure someone was having us on, then listening to the voiceover of the official video I was praying they were. Short of designing a building in the shape of a giant albatross, I can’t imagine a more tacky, out of place symbol of any development at any cost.

    • Elizabeth

      Yep Lindsay, joining you in prayer I think – when in receipt of the application documents.

      The Shard (like the Gherkin) will become iconic in new film and video, until the next architectural wonder goes up in London.

  45. Hype O'Thermia

    The Shard is novelty for novelty’s sake. Sometimes it works, more often it’s a bit naff. Gaudi did strange-and-unusual from the starting place of deeply examined convictions about form, nature, society, individuals and function. Kind of different from “Shardism”.

    • Elizabeth

      Oh hey it keeps the architect in further work, care of brassy show-off clients. It’s exciting as engineering sculpture, and deplorable as urban design. The Shard is definitely Architecture for arabs. Lower case.

  46. Elizabeth

    Loss-making Chinese Garden
    Loss-making Stadium
    Loss-making $100m Hotel

    ‘Add another Boeing’, says Tourism Dunedin, dancing with a “prospectus” between each of these prestigious projects that adversely, severely, financially impacts upon the Dunedin Community and its ratepayers.

    Laughable. http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/218694/tourism-prospectus-launched

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