Woop! Waterfront TOWER hotel RIP

Updated Post 15.4.14

### dunedintv.co.nz April 14, 2014 – 6:46pm
Hotel may be dead in the water
Dunedin’s multi-storey harbourside hotel appears to be dead in the water.
Just before this bulletin went to air, development company Betterways sent a copy of a letter noting a memorandum of understanding deadline had passed.
The company signed the memorandum with the council earlier this year, amid hopes the $100 million project could find a way forward. That followed a DCC resource consent committee decision not to allow the hotel.
Betterways director Jing Song told 39 Dunedin News the project was over. She said she was left speechless by the council’s lack of communication.
Ch39 Link [no video available]

HURRAH HURRAH HURRAH
Hmmm, wonder how much that just cost the ratepayers???
Or was this just a little timing hiccup because of the Royal Tour.
Will Daaave go begging, again.
From the start Betterways has been acutely useless at Communication.
Was never going to be a sound investment. Jing should be thanking Us.
But is it true.
Dunno, read tomorrow’s ODT….

Comment to ODT Online (unabridged):
Comment ODT Online 15.4.14

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

56 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Heritage, Hotel, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

56 responses to “Woop! Waterfront TOWER hotel RIP

  1. Peter

    The whole idea of this hotel, in the form in it was presented, was madness. Bad design. Bad site (except for the views). Bad Business.

    Jing Song did herself no favours with her false and blatantly transparent attempt at ingratiating herself with us. The gift, which she was determined to force down our collective throat, was awesome in its arrogance. Also offensive in the extreme. I am pleased to see that this unpleasant woman has been taught a lesson. Namely, that you cannot throw your money around, how you like, and expect people to grovel to your wealth and backflip to your demands.

    We can do without this kind of business migrant. They are destroyers, not positive builders of this country, which they pretend to call ‘home’. No wonder Winston Peters is able to gain a lot of traction from caning these kind of migrants. He has a point.

    I personally hope she goes back home to China.

  2. From another thread.
    Betterways have seen better days. It’s all over Jing, sayonara. Roll up the red carpet. Roll on Post Office.

    • Calvin, I’m terrified I’ll wake up tomorrow to find Daaave has got the project back on the map!
      I want to view the coroner’s report and the death certificate.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Daaave: It’s not dead, it’s resting.
    Elizabeth: Resting? RESTing???
    Daaave: It’s tuckered out from a long squawk, that’s all. Being a handyman in my younger days I’ll nail its feet to the perch and after I’ve given it a good grovellin’ it’ll be good as new. Never say “dead parrot” while I’m around, I’d open a vein to give it new life. No not MY vein, don’t be silly.

  4. Gasps, “Stamp on the Kornie packet. Yes you, Daaave!!!!!”

  5. Anonymous

    Why does Tony Avery still have a job?

  6. Russell Garbutt

    When the personal relationships will end in this saga will be interesting. It has been noted many times that Steve Rodgers is the personal lawyer of Dave Cull. In 10 minutes everyone will have forgotten about the existence of Ping Pong – no doubt she will find another city or town that she wants to provide a “gift” of an ugly piece of real estate to increase her wealth. Wonder why it wasn’t in her place of “normal” residence in Queenstown – but then again she had said that Nelson was of special importance to her, but somehow that escaped her attention.

    Dunedin is lucky to have escaped this nonsense with nothing much other than the sound of the toys being thrown out of the cot, but the ramifications will be in the credibility of Cull. It seems that the likes of those that are doing the PO Hotel development are just getting on and working within the feel of Dunedin without too much fanfare. So unlike the flashy new piece of bling.

    I think it time for those that are running Dunedin to go away for a while and then come back and take a really hard look at Dunedin with dispassionate eyes. Being realistic is not being anti-growth or anti-anything. Concentrating hard on a vision that is achievable that truly incorporates a big dose of reality is well over-due. The stadium and the Ping Pong hotel are wonderful examples of what the future does NOT hold for Dunedin.

  7. Peter

    Russell. A point of clarification re Ping Pong. The lady is Chinese. Not Thai.

  8. http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/298979/hotel-project-terminated

    Waking up earlier this morning to the word “terminated” was a breath of fresh air. Nah, it won’t sit well with Daaave, Staynesy, or the lovely people at Otago Chamber of Commerce – but the good people of Dunedin can be thankful that Steve Rodgers’ power play to snatch the proud princess’s purse (his employee then for-a-day co-director at Betterways) has completely fallen on its face.

  9. Commentators at ODT Online seem a bit upset, poor darlings. This result has actually saved Dunedin a few dollars in the long run. The cost to DCC to date won’t be light but there was no guarantee the tower would ever be completed on site even if the hotel MOU pulled off in the planning stakes – and this was always the risk, a risk no-one had an answer for. The last thing the city needed was a cheaply built leaky tower on shaky ground. How the traffic engineering consultants for both sides are feeling today is a moot point but likely they had professionally grasped the meaning of that exceptional Tremain cartoon – the square peg into the round hole, with all the unedifying cracks of blunt force. DCC was foiled in the end by a fit of pique, a temper tantrum, of one so young, foolish and uncaring about the values, culture and place we hold in our collective ownership. Was that any principled basis for a working partnership?

    Garrick Tremain 12.3.14 (1)Garrick Tremain 12.3.14

  10. I am so reminded of that classic ‘Simpsons’ monorail episode, which was repeated here in Dunedin with the Stadium. Now, Mayor Dave Quimby/Cull and his ‘okley dokley’ Ned Flanders look-alikes Staynes and Thomson plus many more, have just narrowly averted a repeat. Not, I emphasise, through any doings of those muppets. But more to the tossing of toys out of the cot by the young lady fronting the absurd 27 storey hotel. It was never going to be built as any, only half deranged human would know. Dunedin could not possibly sustain such a preposterous concept, either financially or aesthetically. It is a grand display of the ‘not losing face’ stance on the part of both parties, when they each start trading the blame cards instead of manning up and admit it was all a huge f…up. How long before the next episode, I wonder?

  11. Via Dunedin TV News
    1. Daaave’s pals say work done for 41 Wharf Street may benefit another developer.
    2. ODT says the developer of the proposed (joke) $100m waterfront hotel has not ruled out developing another site in Dunedin (read tomorrow’s newspaper).

    [3. Ping Pong needs a life.]

    ### dunedintv.co.nz April 15, 2014 – 7:19pm
    Betterways’ loss another developer’s gain
    Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has labelled claims the Dunedin City Council did not communicate with the developers of the $100 waterfront hotel as “completely untrue”. The city was left dealing with the fallout today, following the sudden and unexpected dumping of plans for the controversial building. But city and business identities say Betterways’ loss may be another developer’s gain.
    Video

  12. Do we want more temper tantrums? Do we want more stupidity and ignorance? Do we want Daaave doing more grovelling? Do we want her money? Do we give a flying toss?

    Song ‘open’ to new site
    The developer behind Dunedin’s $100 million waterfront hotel proposal says interest in another waterfront site is not behind her decision to scrap an agreement with the Dunedin City Council.
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/299121/song-open-new-site

    So it was Octa that DCC brought into the mix for the traffic engineering options… that’s what you call a fallback position, Octa’s relationship with DCC is always an interesting one. Too close, it may be said. How much has Octa pocketed from ratepayers only to be trounced by Song’s dalliance with Awful Freddy in approaching the isolated ORC site hypothetically with more of his spaghetti cardboard models.

    The hope must be that the irrational spoiled brat and her so-called friend and ‘architectural designer’ take off to Christchurch or Korea or somewhere else well out of our hair.

  13. ODT editorial forgets one thing. Does the $100m truly exist and is it Song’s or her husband’s money anyway?! What a ramshackle editorial.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/299090/opportunity-lost-dunedin

  14. Saw it last year at OP student exhibition. Has the ‘architectural designer’ noodlehead Freddy not renewed his NZRAB architect registration, again.

  15. Didn’t he build a big sort of a gate, somewhere in Berlin? Or was that someone else? I take it, Elizabeth that you are no fan of his. Still, he’s made a pile of money out of Jing which can’t be bad. The question really is: will they go away, or will Dave cringe around them with that pleading look in his eyes till she takes pity and says yes! we’ll do it for you Dave?

  16. Mr Avery says that council staff were left “surprised and disappointed” by Ms Song’s decision to quit the agreement. Well he shouldn’t have been. Consider this: Ms Song and hubby have been looking all the time at the feasibility of this project together with their other activities in China. It is fairly common knowledge that China is starting to pull back on its rampant credit spending on infrastructure projects. Perhaps hubby is starting to feel the pinch a bit and his business is retrenching. Do we know? In fact it seems to me that we – including our bright councillors and staff – know very little about them at all. There is such a thing as ‘due diligence’ that council ought to have carried out, at least to determine the ‘bona fides’ of these people. If they are tightening up, it then becomes a matter of ‘face’ with some people. so it could be that to cancel the MOU and blame the other party gets them out and retaining honour at the same time. Anyone thought of that? I doubt it.

    • We will probably never know what DCC has learned about the Song crew – although Daaave being/having been a client of Steve Rodgers surely must have some idea. I also wonder if she told Steve before ripping up the MOU.

    • Calvin Oaten
      April 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Calvin says ‘…. It is fairly common knowledge that China is starting to pull back on its rampant credit spending on infrastructure projects. Perhaps hubby is starting to feel the pinch a bit and his business is retrenching. Do we know?’

      This whole thing shows two main things. It was blatant opportunism on the part of ‘Gin Sling’. It was desperate straw clutching on the part of the mayor and council after the economic disaster following in the wake of being conned into building the stadium.

      We have known for decades that hotel accommodation is finely balanced in Dunedin. There have been many schemes – all ill-fated or painfully slow in their gestation. ‘Gin Sling’s’ scheme was literally pie in the sky – we didn’t even know either whether it was for tourists to be parachuted in for what purpose I do not know, or for well-heeled Chinese students for their education. The whole thing was ill conceived creating more problems that it purported to solve. We won’t even mention the landscape effects.

      And now we learn that there is a surfeit in student accommodation in Dunedin. So much for that notion.

      And now we are being treated to another alternative from these people. Does the mayor like being jerked around like a prat?

      The tourists who come here today are increasingly coming in ships. For the rest, Queenstown is the destination – we are no longer a gateway. Who needs multi-storeyed hotels?

      As Calvin says ‘In fact it seems to me that we – including our bright councillors and staff – know very little about them at all. There is such a thing as ‘due diligence’ that council ought to have carried out, at least to determine the ‘bona fides’ of these people’.

  17. The breastbeating at ODT Online is most tiresome.
    I doubt very much that DCC is responsible for the torn up MOU but it should be known what Mayor Cull refers to when he says “resource” – in other words, the total dollar sum of DCC’s facilitation to Betterways since the resource consent decision was given. No doubt there are a few consultant invoices for DCC still to track, over and above council staff time. The council has to be accountable and transparent – the mayor says no other developer has received this treatment.
    Let’s have the numbers.

  18. You say; Dave Cull being/having been a client of Steve Rodgers surely must have some idea. Why? He has never had any before, and what do we know about Steve Rodgers’ intelligence? Just because he’s a lawyer says nothing. Face it, Michael Guest was a lawyer as well. I am sorry, but there has been bugger all signs of any intelligence in the whole of this saga, with the exception perhaps of Colin Weatherall.

  19. Garrick Tremain 16.4.14 (1)

    [hotelW] View at National Library records Link

  20. Colin Weatherall as a former chairman of the Hearings Committee was not solely responsible for the resource consent decision.

    I didn’t refer to anything more than the strong possibility of Daaave having knowledge via Steve of Song’s potential net worth. Song is/was an employee/consultant of Steve’s company BAL.

  21. (via Ch39) ODT says it will publish a thread of emails from the developer of the proposed waterfront hotel in tomorrow’s newspaper!

  22. Rob Hamlin

    DEVELOPOSTATION

    I saw Los Angeles for the first time a quarter of a century ago from the top of the final high pass of the Interstate 10 driving in from Miami. We stopped the car at a service point and got out to look. The Los Angeles Basin was described as an arcadian paradise in 1920, with the early film makers being attracted by its numerous pristine environments, and above all its high light intensity and clear atmosphere – sound familiar?

    What we looked down into that day only seventy years later was a level plain of yellow scum through which cranes and tall buildings protruded. Just visible through the scum was a ground level ‘mallscape’ of rectangles and parking lots that disappeared into a distance where it could no longer be seen through the scum, which itself stretched off to an indistinct horizon out to sea. The edge of the scum was only clearly defined by the surrounding ring of mountains inland. A week and a thousand miles earlier, we had been told to get to the Grand Canyon early in the day; before the Los Angeles smog did. We treated the recommendation was fanciful – We did so no longer.

    Later that week I had to conduct a business interview on a very large dairy farm north of Sacramento. I enquired as to how one ran a dairy farm in an area in which there was no grass. I was informed that fresh alfalfa was trucked in each day by road FROM NEVADA, over 1000 miles away – which just goes to show that it’s not only the New Zealand real estate industry that is rediscovering earlier lunacies. Earlier that day I had driven up from LA alongside hundreds of miles of open water canals taking water from the Sacramento area (where the dairy farm was) south. The water glistened prettily as it baked in the sun. Apparently, only half of the water that left arrived at its destination.

    Given what is reported daily in the Lakes section of the ODT I would lay money that anyone looking down from Coronet Peak or Mount Iron in fifty years’ time will perceive a similar scene of total ‘developostation’ in both areas. Speculative development is an extractive industry, usually funded from outside its target area, which takes the resource it finds and annihilates it in the process of extracting capital gain which is swiftly extracted back to its source. In the United Kingdom they have a charming habit of naming the area of developostation after what has been destroyed to create it. ‘Cheshire Oaks’ shopping mall for instance.

    Once the seam is worked out, new raw material has to be sourced (discovered) elsewhere, and so the process goes on. Developostation has moved north and inland in the western United States. We are likely to see something similar here once the Lakes Area is fully developostated and it is realised that the Wakatip Housing Estate is actually a complete s**thole. It will then be somebody else’s turn to be ‘discovered’. ‘Area discovery’ is actually a widely applied fashion marketing strategy. Maybe it will be Te Anau next, maybe Balclutha. Whatever – given the PR budget and the media/social connections anything is possible – even Mataura, which is actually not a bad looking area. Eventually it will be this town’s turn, so Jing Song’s gift is unlikely to be lost to us forever.

  23. Plot thickens. Sydney for Betterways. Ho ho ho.

    Hotel emails testify to updates
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/299263/hotel-emails-testify-updates

  24. Peter

    Yes, I notice Sydney’s involvement with Betterways as an ‘adviser’. Enough said.

  25. I imagine costs reported are not accurate (when were they ever). Was told at least one private individual in Dunedin is richer by $100,000 through DCC shenanigans over this hotel affair. Lesson is the puppet masters dangle a string… The citizens of Hamlin dance at the ball, wake up the next day and maybe realise that they are paying the bill for the ball… Unfortunately the emperor is naked. Puppets are still fooled however. Even more unfortunately most puppets don’t realize this… so they just moan that the rents are going up, that all the shops are closing and that sewerage stinks whilst South Dunedin sinks. I spoke to David Cull recently. I saw no light and have no hope… Unless the Rolling Stones play of course… For f@@@ks sake, wake up Dunedin!!!

  26. Ms Song did not respond to a request for comment, but allowed Mr Carr to talk to the Otago Daily Times.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 19 Apr 2014
    Traffic issues ‘could have been resolved’
    By Chris Morris
    The traffic engineer hired by Betterways Advisory Ltd to help progress Dunedin’s waterfront hotel has rejected claims the project was fatally flawed. Andy Carr, of Carriageway Consultants, said he remained ”extremely confident” any traffic issues posed by the hotel development could have been resolved.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Sure, access to almost anywhere is possible, ever seen the program about extreme truckers, drivers negotiating tiny ledges around mountains. Does this mean it’s remotely sensible to choose to build in a place that is unsuitable in so many ways, difficulty of access being only one? Is it sensible for the council to accommodate this intransigence by signing up for complex extra roading that adversely affects existing streets due to need to create awkward intersections where, without lights to allow accommodation block traffic to enter there would be long delays, but with lights the flow of traffic on major throughways would be compromised?

    • According to the ODT the Traffic Engineering consultant rejected claims the project was fatally flawed.

      Well he would wouldn’t he and of course he would be “extremely confident”, that goes without saying really. Consultants are always extremely confident with their advice. Then comes this barrage of weasel words that I assume is his defence of his position so naturally “he could not explain her (Jing Song’s) reasons for pulling out of the project. But of course he was bound by a confidentiality agreement until after the workshop. And naturally he did not know why the completed traffic report had taken so long, and again, that is a council internal matter.
      With this he manages to throw Jing Song and the council under a bus just to make sure and for good measure he’s got to add ”a shame that the politics has overtaken” the project. I assume he doesn’t want any local body work in the future. But finally he couldn’t resist this gem, “There were certainly no big show-stoppers there.”

      Excuse me but I was under the impression that the whole kit and caboodle was a ‘show stopper’.

  27. Peter Entwisle

    The traffic issues probably were soluble. That’s how it seemed at the hearings. The developers just wanted a bit more time before exiting. Hence their delay in signing the MoU. Now the time has arrived and the DCC’s slowness in reporting the traffic solution is a handy excuse.

    • Seems so, Peter. Will be interesting if Ms Song regroups in the months ahead or not. With a lower construction at another site here or at Christchurch, say. Or was it Korea, given earlier news. She was always welcome to build something compliant at Dunedin.

  28. Why is Mayor Daaave’s opinion piece at ODT today not featured at ODT Online ?!

    DCC tried to help: mayor
    Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, in the wake of the collapse of the 27-storey Wharf St hotel proposal, defends his council’s efforts on the matter.

    “It is important to understand the efforts the Council made to facilitate this development. We rolled out the red carpet in an effort to secure this opportunity more than for any developer — a total of $200,000 either spent or foregone, independent professional advice provided, dedicated liaison and direct meetings with me, successive CEOs and general managers. Let’s rewind to the beginning of the saga.”

    [click to enlarge]

    ODT 21.4.14 DCC tried to help - mayor (page 13)ODT 21.4.14 Opinion (page 13)

  29. What can you say? The man’s a spendthrift, with no plan at all. If the basic due diligence of investigating the veracity of the whole scheme at the outset had been done, it would almost certainly have shown that regardless of the aesthetics, location, traffic problems of concern, it would have been plain that the proposal as proposed could not have been economically viable in a city the size of Dunedin. Next, should have been the background of the proposers. What do we really know about them? It seems very little other than that the husband is a property developer in China. But that tells very little, as we have seen plenty of evidence of how fragile these can sometimes be, particularly when operating in a ‘property bubble’ as exists presently in China. It happens here in New Zealand, witness the 1987 crash when high flyers fell out of the sky in flocks. Who knows but what could have been the outcome here? Dave Cull certainly doesn’t know, that’s for sure. I think that the [hearings comittee] probably did the city a big favour despite the council’s efforts to overcome its verdict.

  30. BREAKING NEWS

    ENV-2013-CHC-77 Betterways Advisory Ltd v Dunedin City Council

    Received by email this morning. Notice of withdrawal of appeal by Betterways Advisory Ltd as at 1 May 2014, via Phil Page, Solicitor (Gallaway Cook Allan Lawyers).

  31. And that, as they say, is that. An expensive exercise for the ratepayers which should never have been pursued by the council outside the original findings. When Mayor Cull gets on a roll there’s nothing too much to spend.

    {Dunedin City Council was the Respondent. It is usual if not expected for the Appellant and Respondent to enter discussion by consultative processes before court-ordered mediation or hearing. -Eds}

  32. Peter

    A lesson to be learnt from this is not to fall head over heels for rich people offering ‘gifts’ until you know all the fishhooks. Those talking about rolling out the red carpet, not the red tape, look somewhat silly now. Arise Sir Eion and pals.

  33. Let’s hope Song has no other demented plans for Dunedin, although I suppose she could be swept up in some Architecture van Brandenburg scheme, and ORC might make money on their wharfside property. Is the city ready for commercial residential harbourside development while Rattray/Fryatt St can’t take vehicular traffic at grade? A lot of Dunedin’s shop space, it seems, is struggling – so much for keeping things vibrant in the centre of town if we can get burgers at the redeveloping garden centre near Portsmouth Drive, better parking in Balclutha, a swim and spa at Syd’s new place, or a formal dinner beside the environmental delights of Port Otago’s industrial slipway.

  34. ENV-2013-CHC-73 Betterways Advisory Ltd v Dunedin City Council

    Received Tuesday, 13 May 2014 9:51 a.m.
    Letter from the Case Manager, Environment Court confirming the above proceeding has been withdrawn as at 13 May 2014 with no issues as to costs.

  35. ODT’s a little late in bringing this one to print, but at least a vague statement from the cagey Song to decorate it. And suddenly, Daaave appears to be concerned about ratepayers’ money. Wowie.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 23 May 2014
    Betterways’ appeal withdrawn
    By Chris Morris
    Betterways Advisory Ltd has hammered another nail into the coffin of its Dunedin waterfront hotel project by withdrawing an appeal to the Environment Court. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said when contacted the news was ”not surprising”, but it removed any threat of a $300,000 bill for legal action for the council.
    Read more

  36. Elizabeth

    Why has it taken this long for DCC and ORC to admit to their conniving ways – and in relation to that un-gifted woman. Oh yeah. Forced by the LGOIMA process to be a slight bit transparent and accountable; and with dough boy Syd Brown in the greasy midst.

    DCC, at least, is known to be useless at business – maybe we need an LGOIMA request to get that admission in writing too.

    When all is said and done, FO Ms Song, you’re nothing but a cheap detestable joke – paunchy Dunedin old boys and lawyers with dollar signs in their eyes will only ever bring us nasty bedfellows like you.

    Has the lawyer returned his new Mercedes to her yet, for failure at 41 ? Or does BFF Daaave have to pay for that.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/305546/orc-leaves-door-open

    [and we thought Len Brown was contemptible]

  37. Jing Song’s Betterways people could, if they wanted, build their 27 storey hotel in a submerged, horizontal mode placed with its entry at the top of the harbour basin then extending towards Waverley. It would solve the height problem, clean up the turgid basin, which could be landscaped over top with Harland type coffee bars and drinkeries scattered over. The ORC could build their own Taj Mahal and Dunedin would become the “Host of the South” guaranteeing Dave Cull his fancy hat and gong. All it requires is some “lateral”, as opposed to “vertical” thinking, by some of the players involved. What’s not to like about that?

  38. Elizabeth

    Link received yesterday.

    Dunedin ratepayers missed a flapping duck? Ahem, note that magic ‘convince-a-council’ $100m figure, here it is again. The near cousin of our mythical “only $66 a year” line embossed into rate demands for stadium.
    So if Jing Song comes back, BE AWARE.

    ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 20/06/2014
    Five stars come at a price for ratepayers
    By Kate Chapman
    A five-star Hilton Hotel and conference centre for Wellington would cost ratepayers $2 million a year. Details of the price tag for the proposed inner-city development have been revealed, and they show that developer Mark Dunajtschik will bear the more than $100 million cost of building the 165-room venue, which will be managed by the Hilton chain. But Wellington City Council has agreed to a 20-year lease of the convention centre. While the annual lease cost has not been disclosed, the business case puts the after-profit bill for ratepayers at about $2m a year. Of that, 60 per cent would come from general rates and the rest from the downtown levy paid by central city businesses – meaning a cost of less than $10 a year for the average ratepayer. The cost would amount to roughly the same as the council spends on its library collections each year.
    Read more

  39. Elizabeth

    Ah ha.
    WHY the repeated searches at What if? in the last 7-10 days using terms like these (sample):

    *jingsong*, *jing song crown range cellars*, *ping cao construction*, *ping cao construction china*, *lizhen ning*, *distinction hotels dunedin post office*, *dunedin desperate property developers* (oft-used search term over a longer period), *dunedin skyscrapers*, *luftballon fetish*

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