Height the key issue: barrister

The proposed 27-storey waterfront hotel. Image supplied.
The proposed 27-storey waterfront hotel. Image supplied.
An Environment Court appeal that could decide the fate of Dunedin's proposed waterfront hotel is destined for a hearing, unless the developers reconsider the height of their building, an opponent says.

The comment from Christchurch barrister John Hardie, representing Capri Enterprises Ltd, which opposed the hotel, came in court documents leaked to the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

Mr Hardie, in a memorandum to the court, said height was the ''fundamental issue'' and would be again during the court's mediation process.

However, mediation that sought to reach an agreement - thereby avoiding a time-consuming and costly hearing - would only achieve ''some purpose'' if the developers were prepared to discuss the hotel's height, he believed.

''In the absence of a willingness to discuss a more modest proposal, the matter will need to go to a hearing,'' he said.

His comments came after Betterways director Jing Song, of Queenstown, this week expressed frustration at the time, cost and slow progress involved in behind-the-scenes talks with the Dunedin City Council.

She also appeared to step back from an earlier offer to compromise on the hotel's height, saying there were no alternative plans on the table.

Betterways lost its bid for resource consent for the controversial 27-storey, $100 million tower last year, prompting an Environment Court appeal that was placed on hold while talks with the council continued.

If talks broke down, Betterways could pursue the project by trying to reach agreement with all parties through the court's mediation process, or by pursuing a costly and time-consuming court hearing.

Betterways lawyer Phil Page, in a memorandum to the court last month, suggested a new timetable that would give the company until March 28 to announce its next move.

Court staff said at the time that was yet to be accepted, but they could not be contacted for an update yesterday.

In his memorandum, Mr Page also said the ''key issue'' remained connectivity between the proposed hotel and the central business district, while Ms Song this week said planning issues were still to be addressed.

However, Mr Hardie, in his memorandum, said Mr Page's view ''fails to either disclose or deal with the fundamental issue'', which was not ''some walkway connection'' but the proposed hotel's height.

''That was the reason the initial application drew more submissions in opposition than any other application that had ever been filed with the Dunedin City Council.''

Those concerns would re-emerge in evidence to the Environment Court, meaning mediation would work only if the hotel's height was up for discussion, he said.

Betterways should be required to tell the court whether it would be prepared to discuss the hotel's height during the mediation process, he said. If it was not, the court should proceed to a hearing ''so that the court can rule on that fundamental issue'', he said.

Mr Hardie's comments came after he argued against the hotel on Capri's behalf during last year's resource consent hearing.

However, he was also forced to deny commercial competition was behind Capri's opposition, after being questioned about the company's motives.

Companies Office records listed hotel magnate Earl Hagaman, the chairman of Scenic Circle Hotels, as Capri's sole director.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Statuesque and well connected

A 'Chrysler' Building, we wouldnt mind, already.

Long lost cousins

I tender Mrkiwi went to the same school of valuation or surveying as Claret Kiwi, or they shared ink at DCC Property, once. It's a small, shortish well-connected town where the dots don't always add.

Hotel height

Another reason for a building needing a certain height is the cost of land. The cost of the ground footprint dictates how many storeys are required to make a project feasible.

Hotel height

I think the reason the height of the proposed hotel is not negotiable by the developers is that in order for the hotel to work for the five star guests and appartment owners, there needs to be an excellent view for the most number of people in the building.

In terms of the box shape, well, in order to be a practical building, right angles work the best.

The site doesn't seem to have enough room to go flat and lower than the design.

The photo is fine as it shows reflection of the hills and sky.  The only thing wrong is that the sky is blue rather than cloudy grey to match the current Dunedin summer.

Good architecture

"It is cheek by jowl with only a railway line, a road, and an overpass."

Yes MQuack- but we all overlook it.

Let's aim for some good new architecture that fits.

Hotel: in support

Dunedin risks becoming a town with a reputation of being hostage to naysayers. Different architectural styles can sit alongside each other (although having said that, the losses of the AMP bulding and the Exchange building, in Princes St, are mocked by their replacements: look at old photos, and weep).

In my view, this hotel will work. It is cheek by jowl with only a railway line, a road, and an overpass.

Waterfront Hotel

It's just ugly.

Quite right

Quite right cityrise- they don't live here and we do.

This building would not be 'see through' it would just dominate the city at that height.

It has nothing to do with this community and would undermine all the great work being done in the Warehouse Precinct.

If there has to be a building let it be great architecure that we can be proud of.  Please....... not a tall box or a tower! 

Misleading photo

Please spare us the misleading photo.  This is part of the sham in attempting to make this building look transparent and unimposing on the landscape.  Funny how those wanting this eye sore don't even live in Dunedin.  If I had the money I would find out where Jing Song's mansion is in Queenstown, buy the land in front of it and build a giant rectangle.  If she got upset I would ignore her in the name of "progress".  It would be my "gift" to her.

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