Hotel YES or NO

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Hot air, Hotel, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium


  1. Are Betterways Advisory Ltd, Mayor Cull and DCC cracking the champagne, already.


  2. Anonymous

    I’m going to say “Yes” simply because there are two Stadium Councillors involved, Colin Weatherall and Andrew Noone. But I’m also going suggest we remember recent history. What I suspect will happen is the decision will be in favour of the developers but some sort of final decision will not be available until later this year (aka as after the next election). This allows the Mayor, Dave Cull, most of his Greater Dunedin and the Stadium Councillors to say “No” in some manner or, as per the SC strategy, sit very still and hope nobody notices them. After, shortly after the election, turn about and say “Yes”. Refer to the last two elections for those examples.

    This council stopped working in the best interests of its constituents a long time ago. Now they work the flawed visions of the self-interested and greedy.

  3. Mike

    well hooray!

  4. Chris

    Steve, Can I have the model of the hotel sitting in your office now that you don’t need it?

    • It’s nice that submitters HAVE NOT heard first before this went to media.

      ### ODT Online Wed, 5 Jun 2013
      Dunedin’s waterfront hotel rejected
      By Chris Morris
      Plans for a $100 million waterfront hotel in Dunedin have been rejected. The Dunedin City Council’s hearings committee, in a decision released this morning, has declined to grant resource consent for the controversial hotel and apartment tower. The decision comes after Betterways Advisory Ltd’s bid to build the hotel on industrial land at 41 Wharf St prompted a public backlash, with 507 submissions mainly opposed to the development.
      Committee chairman Cr Colin Weatherall said the committee was aware of the value of the investment opportunity on offer, “but we had a job to do”.
      The hotel failed to meet either of two legal threshold tests within the Resource Management Act, which required the effects of the hotel to be no more than minor or overall not contrary to district plan rules.
      “Having made these determinations, we are unable to grant consent.”

      Read the full decision (PDF, 333 pages).

      The decision is subject to an appeal period of 15 working days.

      The Wharf Street site is zoned Industrial 1. Commercial residential activity and residential activity are considered to be non-complying activities under the District Plan and so a notified resource consent process was required.
      ODT Link

  5. Robert Hamlin

    A remarkable outcome. Gnashing of teeth all over MCPravda’s comments already. Seems that the Betterways boys believed (as I did) that it was a foregone conclusion. The panel are to be congratulated on ignoring the pressure applied to them from the Mayor’s (Red Carpet Cull’s) office among other places.

    The gnashing largely concerns the loss of this “magnificent economic opportunity”. Some observations:

    a) It was never wholly or even largely a hotel. The majority (and perhaps the intention was eventually once approved) all of its floor space was taken up by rat-trappy little private freehold apartments, sold on not much more than the view. Such a vertical housing estate would have had little economic impact on the town once built. As the views that gave value to these cabins was largely acquired at the expense of other people’s sun and views, the capital gains accruing to these out of town speculative residential real estate developers would likely have been matched by the losses incurred by local property owners both industrial, commercial and residential whose own properties and investments would have been adversely impacted by the structure. This is not to mention the negative impact of the permanent and highly expensive to rectify ‘pinch’ in traffic flows around the site had this project succeeded.

    b) It is consistently described as a five star hotel, but the plans indicated that there was nothing about the nature of the minority of this building that was allocated to this task that suggested the capacity to supply hotel accommodation at that level. Just saying that you are a five star hotel does not mean that you are one – there is a small matter of a five star level of service delivery to consider. Five star hotel stayers would require among other things: adequate parking, large suites and good support facilities and connections to start with. The ability for a coach to park and turn is also an asset that did not seem to fit with the bootlace like footprint of this building.

    The Forsyth Barr Stadium was similarly touted as a five star conference facility, despite displaying similar glaring on-plan inadequacies with regards to playing the role at this level – these inadequacies and its related inability to attract the promised five star conferences and related economic added are now manifest.

    c) Maybe some building work would have gone locally, I suspect that a lot would have gone to out of town suppliers. Either way, it is not a long term economic input.

    d) Even in its early stages it was clear that a significant ‘community investment’ was being sought to remediate some of the more manifest inadequacies of the site and the proposed structure itself. These investments are likely to have been one of the true ‘growth’ aspects of this project – quite possibly to the point that it would outweigh any benefits accruing to the limited local inputs to c) above.

    e) The supposed $100 million value-added investors were not committed to this site. Until recently, they did not own it. There were several other sites available around the City that would have been better able to cater for a true five star hotel. The Old Post Office, the land behind the Council offices on Moray Place and the site to the South, on the Steamer Basin where the ORC head office folly was supposed to be sited, being just three options.

    If these investors are really serious about making a profit by making a very large investment in the construction of a five star hotel business, rather than profiting via local speculative real estate manipulations, I would expect them to have seriously investigated these alternative sites before now, and most certainly to do so from now on. I have never bought into the “It‘s our gift to Dunedin!” line. I sincerely hope that they are investing because they think that they can make money out of a viable top-class hotel business, because that will add activity to this city – unlike land speculation, which will not. If the five star hotel is truly their belief and intention, then the three sites above, and others, seem to be far more worthy of their investments than further litigation over this one.

    Had the opposition to the Forsyth Barr Stadium succeeded in stopping its construction, we would now be deluged with angry denunciations of how we had prevented St. Malcolm of Farry from saving the City with his ‘vision’. This would have happened because the gobbling turkey that is the Foobar would never have arisen from the mud of Awatea St and by its abysmal lack of performance on any and all dimensions amply confirmed the case made against it. A similar process will now occur with the ‘five star hotel’ vision. Indeed, if you go to the comments page of McPravda, the process has already begun. So just get out your raincoat and weather the tearstorm.

    • Dunedin is the stronger for this decision! A city that knows its form, and loves it.
      Where there is opportunity (LOTS of opportunity remains in this huge city council geographical area) there will always be money and investment. Certain investors just need to consider their potential investments more wisely !!!!

  6. Peter

    Excellent decision and must say, like others, I’m very surprised it went this way. Jing Song and her lawyer friend, Steve Rodgers, overplayed their hand with this supposed, forced on us, ‘gift’ to our city.
    She is now free to regift her vision to one of those ghastly, foul and polluted cities in China where unsympathetic ‘development’ runs rife over their own people and their proud and ancient culture.
    I sincerely hope we have seen the last of this woman and her hangers on.

    • It doesn’t really matter who proposed the tower hotel and apartment building for Dunedin waterfront – we still don’t know who the investors are/were.

      And it ain’t over until we know if an appeal has been lodged, or not.

      The pro-hotel bloggers at ODT Online have turned into “naysayers” – that’s some bad magic.

  7. Mike

    Actually I hope she invests in the old Post Office building, I’ve always though that that wonderful big open ground floor space, redone in dark wood and marble would make a world class 5 star hotel atrium.

    • Mike, that was commonly expressed in submissions against the hotel application. However, the owner of the former chief post office has his own investment decisions to make and they currently include diligence on Silver Fern Farms as an anchor tenant. The new glazed roof over the ‘business atrium’ in the building is in place and will work for any major tenant. I wish Geoff Thomson well. See comment with links.

  8. Peter

    Yes, Mike, she could have chosen a more honourable path, in that direction, and won genuine kudos from Dunedin’s citizens as a progressive developer.

  9. Brian Miller

    It is a strange council indeed that will allow our finest soils to be taken out of food production for housing, but turn down the building of a hotel on industrial land that has no value, and nobody wants. Strange indeed.

  10. Tomo

    Brian Miller it is time that you woke up to the fact that Dunedin’s decisions are not based on the district plan, but on who the applicant is.

  11. Anonymous

    Somebody mentioned today the decision would upset people in Dunedin. Maybe, but I think it more likely to upset several people in Queenstown and at least one of them is likely to use his soldiers to upset people in Dunedin. But thankfully in the best interests of Dunedin, Eion Edgar and Michael Hill can now focus their energies on building Jing Song’s hotel on their own lake front. Might as well add a stadium and another golf course too. Queenstown ratepayers will be most obliging.

    For the city I doubt the hotel decision is final. It’s election year and the next term is the critical one for the asset strippers.

  12. amanda

    That’s how I think it might play out too. The stadium fiscal muppets are playing it the same way they did with the stadium; play down their support for the hotel as they did for the stadium, then once safely elected, suddenly quietly have an about turn opinion on the hotel. Be all mad for it and say that it must go ahead. Or the City Will Die………….

  13. amanda

    Those seven asset strippers’ only goal now is re-election. Once that is delivered to them, all bets are off.

  14. amanda

    Actually only six muppets left; Cr “Glass half full’ Collins is leaving council after being on it for 150 years. But still leaves Cr Hudson, Weatherall, Noone, Acklin, Bezett and Brown. They are super shy about sharing their stadium support. You won’t hear it in the newspapers either. Funny that.

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