Un hôtel. Dunedin.

Douglas Field Published Jan 11, 2016 | Republished Aug 17, 2016 | Updated

Dunedin looks – yet again at another new hotel. Trouble is they always get it wrong – last one was a doozy – this one ain’t shaping up too well either.
All very cloak and dagger.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, DVML, Economics, Enterprise Dunedin, Fun, Geography, Heritage, Hot air, Hotel, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Resource management, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

26 responses to “Un hôtel. Dunedin.

  1. russandbev

    Exactly what game is the ODT playing here? Some anonymous coot being the spokesperson for a project that makes the front page based on speculation? Not Steve Rodgers again?

    • Diane Yeldon

      Indeed. What does anyone building a hotel have to hide that they should be anonymous? Why should they want to be anonymous unless they are already known to the Dunedin population? If they are already known here, might they have a conflict of interest? If this ‘hotel’, like the last “hotel”, includes apartments, might those apartments be intended as student accommodation? If so, might the University of Otago know about this? If the University of Otago knows about this, might the Otago Chamber of Commerce know too. If the Otago Chamber of Commerce knows, might the DCC, or at least some people elected to it, know too?

      When I saw the proposed zone changes to the Steamer Basin as a ‘transitional’ zone, I wondered, “transitional from what to what?” I wondered if the DCC, at least in some sense or perhaps only some influential people there, already knew about this “hotel” idea. Perhaps it had been worked out on trips to China, in PRIVATE meetings.

      International students are a lucrative trade. Perhaps there is a demand for high end, even luxury accommodation for such students, perhaps well-off ones from China. There are certainly plenty of Chinese tourists coming here on cruise ships. Perhaps some of these want a good education for their children, including being fluent in English and they can afford to pay for it, especially after going on a cruise ship visiting Dunedin and seeing how nice the city is.

      Now what’s wrong with this? Wouldn’t it boost Dunedin’s economic status – which is what many of the present city councillors are most concerned about. Dunedin’s mayor goes on visits to China, maybe hoping for some of their wealth to come here. But I don’t have any confidence in such business dealings for a number of reasons.

      First, an over-supply of new student rental accommodation puts the existing landlords out of business.

      Second, there is a danger of killing the goose that laid the golden egg – what percentage of Otago students can be Chinese or even international without the university losing the very unique character which made it so desirable to foreigners in the first place? The University of Auckland recently had 35% of its students enrolment as Asian. No, I am NOT being ‘racist’ – I am concerned about the survival of my OWN culture.

      Third – who is likely to be the cleverer negotiator: DCC reps (like the present mayor perhaps) or the Chinese interests? I would place my bet on any Chinese negotiators to tie up the whole deal as a package so that all profits go to China. I don’t think this would be that difficult for them to achieve since the DCC seems to pay acts to come to the Stadium – in other words, the DCC seems to bend over backwards to accommodate anyone who merely claims to be ‘investing’ in Dunedin. Bad way to do business IMO.

      In general in business, if you allow it to look like you need the other party more than the other party needs you, they you will get ripped off. I doubt if the DCC’s present mayor knows this. All this is conjecture, I know. But I’d like to be proved wrong before decisions are finalised.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        “Third – who is likely to be the cleverer negotiator: DCC reps (like the present mayor perhaps) or the Chinese interests? I would place my bet on any Chinese negotiators….” Any Chinese negotiator indeed, Diane: I would put my bet on Joe Tui of the Tui fish’n’chippery just down from the Cook, and he’s been dead a long time now.

  2. Hotel Songs of The Noel Coward years: ‘A room with a view and you, da da da dee da Gertie!’ ‘We will always be called/the hoteliers who live on the hull’. ‘Donaldsons, Donaldsons, driest pub we ever bin in/no one there can get a beer in Donaldsons, our Donaldsons’. ‘Gonna build an Hotel gonna built it high/go on then you big talking man, go ahead and wreck your health’. ‘

  3. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 12 Jan 2016
    Opinions divided over hotel proposals
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin’s accommodation sector is divided over the prospect of a new five-star hotel, as words of welcome mix with warnings of a price war. The divergent views came after the Otago Daily Times reported plans for a five-star hotel opposite the Town Hall, and a four-star hotel on the city’s waterfront, were being progressed.
    Read more

    11.1.16 ODT: New harbour hotel mooted
    9.1.16 ODT: New hotel – ‘the city needs this’
    5.1.16 ODT: DCC in new hotel talks

    12.1.16 ODT Editorial: “Tourism, it must be remembered, can be fickle. Hence the importance of diversification in sources from around the world.” Link

  4. Gurglars

    This hotel “developer’s representative” hasn’t got a developer yet, but he does have a hot air bag.

  5. Elizabeth

    Sat, 28 May 2016
    ODT: Developers eyeing top-end hotel deal
    The Otago Daily Times has been told talks between the Dunedin City Council and developers wanting to build a five-star hotel on the Filleul St car park site, opposite the Town Hall, are close to a conclusion. While Mr Cull remained tight-lipped about the prospect of a deal, a spokesman for the developers was confident one was only weeks away.

    DCC Webmap - Upper Octagon Moray Place Filleul Street (star)DCC Webmap – Upper Octagon Moray Place Filleul Street
    [development site starred]

    Related Posts and Comments:
    19.8.15 Hotels ? Business ? [DCC lost +++152 fleet vehicles] —Cull in charge of building chicken coops, why ?
    1.4.14 HOTEL Town Hall… Another investment group, Daaave’s pals from the communist state?
    10.3.14 Hotel: DCC and COC sell out Dunedin community to Chinese trojans

    █ For more, enter the term *hotel* in the search box at right.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Yep, here we go again. And Mayor Cull making public statements which IMO conflict with the council’s role as consent authority. Apart from that, I think he’s got the wrong end of the stick as usual. Yes, there is a boom in international tourism, especially from China, as long as cheap air travel, which is, in turn, dependent on cheap oil, remains available. But I think the increased demand will be more and more from younger age groups who not only want to get best value for their money but actually prefer accommodation options which allow them to experience meeting and mixing with locals (like the rapidly growing AirBnB), rather than going for luxury hotels which are pretty much the same all round the world. The luxury cruise ship industry is booming too and those maybe older travelers have already got their floating luxury hotel rooms.
      Don’t think a five star hotel is going to help much with the out-of-town stadium crowd either, most of whom have to think twice about being able to afford their tickets and travel. Or the droves of crickets fans supposed to prop up Dunedin’s economic fortunes.
      I suppose if people want to invest their money this way and can comply with the planning requirements, it’s their choice. But the council, as consent authority, should not be treating potentially big investors any differently from any other planning applicant. Hope they have learnt from the Betterways fiasco, which was ‘terminated’, as Chris Morris opaquely puts it, leaving readers in the dark about just what that means, despite this article supposed to be an investigation in depth.
      See NZ Herald’s comments on ‘millenial travellers.’

      • Elizabeth

        Great comment Diane, many thanks for the NZ Herald link (24.4.16), ‘The wants of every millennial traveller’:

        “Whether it be taking up volunteer work, dropping off supplies at a local school or learning about the impact of environmental issues, millennials want to connect with a place, rather than just snap selfies. A quick internet search reveals countless opportunities for young travellers to give back, as ethical travel becomes an increasingly important aspect of an OE.” –NZ Herald

        To which I put this video (for millennials)….

        Coldplay Official Published on May 16, 2016
        Coldplay – Up&Up (Official video)
        The third single to be taken from Coldplay’s acclaimed new album, A Head Full Of Dreams. The 4-minute video is filled with contemporary issues and creative composites that combine footage in a way that plays with perspective.
        Directed by: Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia | Coldplay Creative Director: Phil Harvey | Band Manager: Dave Holmes | Parlophone Video Commissioner: Sam Seager
        Production Company: PRETTYBIRD UK

        “Coldplay’s new Up&Up video harnesses a childlike wonder. It’s a surreal adventure filled with eagles flying underwater, cars circling Saturn’s rings and volcanoes spewing popcorn. The clip, co-directed by Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia, also depicts the band members as giants walking among mountains and clouds.” –Rolling Stone

        In the video Coldplay’s drummer is overlaid on an International Space Station image of Otago Southland….

        YouTube Coldplay Up&Up as at 29.5.16 [screenshot by whatifdunedin][screenshot: whatifdunedin 29.5.16]

        See image sent to @whatifdunedin from the Space Station (by Ignazio Magnani) here: https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/bowie/#comment-73082

        • Diane Yeldon

          I can’t imagine all these young international travellers ever wanted to go to war with countries they’ve visited. Or trash the world any further. I think there are as yet hidden and unrecognized powerful beneficial social effects of all this cultural mixing and mingling – and keen appreciation of the fragile beauty of countries like New Zealand. These young people are becoming global citizens.
          Fantastic picture from space of the Fish of Maui. And the Coldplay video says it all in wonderful images.

          Chinese citizens are taking overseas ‘pollution relief’ holidays!

          Another thing about these young adventurous travellers – they are very wise to insincere attempts to fleece the tourists. Not by chance is ‘peer-to-peer’ accommodation called that, because it is a relationship of equality between host and guest. The old-fashioned ‘luxury hotel’ trade always had an undercurrent of contempt on both sides. Money and who had it and who didn’t was the most important consideration. Think many of the Dunedin business old fogies still believe this.

          Quoting Cull from the ODT article:
          “Budget travellers offered lower margins to the city and its tourism sector, making tourist attractions more reliant on attracting larger numbers of visitors, he said.
          That kept wages low within a section of the tourism sector, as well as threatening to be “quite negative” for the visitor experience in Dunedin and other centres, he said.
          “You’re on a treadmill that’s not actually gaining you a lot.”” (ends)

          Spot the ‘trickle down’ fallacy in action! How does going for the ‘high end’ of the market increase wages in the tourism sector? It wouldn’t. The waiters and cleaners would get paid the same rates. And profit would be concentrated with the few big investors – but only if the luxury market really is there.
          And as for ‘the treadmill that’s not gaining you a lot’, most of these young visitors to Dunedin become enthusiastic ambassadors for the city, returning themselves or telling friends and family or choosing to study here. Or even re-locate if they can. Much more effective than any ‘city marketing’ puffery.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          Diane, re budget travellers: “That kept wages low within a section of the tourism sector, as well as threatening to be “quite negative” for the visitor experience in Dunedin and other centres, he [Mayor Cull] said.”
          Cull is undeniably the EPNS butterknife misplaced among sharps. Where does the cruise ship top dollar go? Our own tour providers get secure bookings but they’re at far less than a “budget” tourist pays for the same visit to albatross colony, viewing penguins, everything else the cruise passengers pre-book.
          Are the cruise tours raising wages in pre-booked attractions or, because providers have the margin squeezed by cruise ship operators, do they keep wages and conditions low?

      • Elizabeth

        OneDirectionVEVO Published on Oct 20, 2015
        One Direction – Perfect (Official Video)
        One Direction’s single Perfect from the album Made in the A.M.

        If you like causing trouble up in hotel rooms

        And if you like midnight driving with the windows down
        And if you like going places we can’t even pronounce
        If you like to do whatever you’ve been dreaming about

  6. Elizabeth

    Is DCC /City Property directly competing with private sector accommodation providers in the city ? With what council concessions to the council-preferred “hotel” investor/developer/brand ?

    Obviously we can’t expect openness and transparency from a Cull-led council.

  7. Calvin Oaten

    Here we go again. That site was first proposed by Harland’s boy Mr Spargo way back in 2003 or 4. He couldn’t make it fly, buggered off to be a freelance consultant in Wellington. Peter Brown next put the idea up for the DCC to build it and lease it in conjunction with the [Town Hall Redevelopment Project] Conference Centre development. That went up in smoke through lack of industry interest. If there is ever to be a “five star” hotel built in Dunedin it will have to have a strong DCC (ratepayer) support. One starter could be land for bugger all cost plus subsidised rate relief, finance incentives, all the jiggery pokery as practised in the getting and sustaining of the Stadium. As Diane says a very big proportion of Dunedin’s tourists are cruise ship folk who bring their own accommodation, Budget bus tours and free rangers, none of whom I believe inhabit “five star’ establishments. Face it, This could be (if it happens) the third ‘Elephant’ in the room alongside the Stadium, [Town Hall] Conference Centre and with the Settlers Museum queuing at the door. But with ravings like we read from Mayor Cull on the subject, who knows?

    • Kleinefeldmaus

      Calvin. At the risk of repetition, the clip I made a while back [see at post, top of thread] may be worth repeating. Although it seems that even the Bishop is moving on – signs of the times – but Diane is so right tourists come in ships – or mobile homes. Maybe we need more toilets in odd places where these folk ‘overnight’.
      But hey maybe the Chinese trip will bring new money to build a monument to our present ineptitude.

  8. Calvin Oaten

    Again Diane nails it.
    Cruise ship passengers / tourists, either “five star’ alternatives or the “trip of a lifetime” options, Cull obviously can’t see the ‘wood for the trees’ when he disparages the “budget travelers”, and blindly stakes his faith in the dinosaur “five star” hotel built concept. The man is not only a danger to the city, he is to himself.

  9. Elizabeth

    ODT 28.5.16 p5 snippet tweaked 1ODT 28.5.16 p5 snippet – tweaked by whatifdunedin

    If the 5-star hotel at Filleul St is being driven by the big thinkers about town including DVML then god help us. They brought us the Stadium. And do we want a 15-storey building on that site overshadowing (sun angles) the entries to the historic Dunedin Town Hall in all seasons. No. Or interfering with view shafts looking up to St Paul’s and Municipal Chambers, say, from the lower Octagon and lower Stuart St. No.

    You can bet it will be a dunger design if the old boys have everything to do with it. Unfortunately, there are more suited dickheads at Dunedin than brain cells —or aesthetic kings (None!)

    And christ knows who they have to finance the build, meaning the flow of dollars out of Dunedin…. as with any scheme they have ever executed using manipulation, lies, Corruption and TRUCKLOADS of ratepayer subsidy. Bastards! (what feather their own nests or they wouldn’t attempt these *cough* lesser sins)

    • Diane Yeldon

      It needs to be kept in mind that the DCC killed off the boutique bed and breakfast accommodation in the city, by socking them with excessively onerous commercial rates, particularly unfair when hosts characteristically had low occupancy rates, a small number of rooms and not a significantly higher amenity impact than normal residential use. Owners of these were often preserving historic buildings and had to have at least a small commercial return to be able to afford to keep and maintain the building. There’s room in the market IMO for as many of these heritage houses, unique to Dunedin, as people want to upgrade, and I wish the DCC would help their owners, rather than hinder them. Sort of along the lines of a QE2 covenant rates relief deal for the built environment as well as the natural environment. Otherwise, the fate of these houses is likely to be demolition by neglect or students rentals.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Those were the ideal “5 star” accommodation for Dunedin. We don’t get many generic rich people, but we do occasionally get the kind of people whose wealth isn’t the most interesting thing about them, and they tend to go for high comfort, low visibility accommodation – unhassled, personal service with discretion. 5-star is OK for big cities and tacky money towns like Queenstown, for people with lots of money and no desire to spend more than an hour or 2 out of public attention.

        • Elizabeth

          5-star at NZ ain’t so high a level of ‘motelised hotel digs’.

        • Gurglars

          Five star- Shy Star (Shyster)
          I’ve stayed in hotels everywhere for a living once and the only memorable rooms were the Intercontinental in New York which had real antique furniture in every room and each room was completely different and another “hotel” featuring different antique styles in each room in Sausalito, a seaside suburb in San Fran and it could have been a brothel. Come to think of it now, the receptionist did take our payment in a negligee in the morning!!
          Otherwise all hotel rooms feature a nice bed, dearer ones don’t have a kitchen, and 5 stars might have a butler. Basically a con.

  10. Elizabeth

    Question. Will the existing accommodation sector at Dunedin back Cull for mayor again ? Does he rely on sheep for votes ? After sympathies voiced (city-wide) for South Dunedin when flooded by Climate Change and a dead guy (global excuses cancelling apologies for gross misdeeds).

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