Agreement signed over waterfront hotel

A 2012 visual rendering of the planned hotel
A 2012 visual rendering of the planned hotel
Plans for a $100 million waterfront hotel have taken a step forward with the Dunedin City Council and developers signing a memorandum of understanding, it has been announced this morning.

If solutions to "connectivity issues" can be reached the project will go to a new urban design panel.

After that there would be provision for a plan change which would allow the hotel to proceed. 

The DCC said in a statement the agreement establishes "a framework and a process to address issues" after Betterways' application to build a 27-storey, five-star hotel at 41 Wharf Street was declined resource consent in June last year.

Dunedin mayor Dave Cull said since then the council had worked with the developer  "to find whether a hotel can be constructed on this site that both realises Betterways' investment ambitions and benefits the city."

A key focus has been "connectivity issues" around pedestrian access to and from the hotel and its impact on traffic on the waterfront. 

If a solution to this can be found, the DCC will set up an urban design panel "to provide independent design review and subsequent advice".

"Urban design panels are widely used in other centres. We're really delighted to have an opportunity to use this successful formula here in Dunedin, and on such an important project for the city," Mr Cull says.

Once the design panel and DCC staff members were satisfied the new hotel proposal had resolved the issues, the DCC would initiate a District Plan Change process to change the zoning of the Wharf Street site from industrial so a panel-approved design could be built on the site.

Any development proposal would still be subject to the Resource Management Act.

One of Betterways' owners, Jing Song, said: "After a very challenging two years, we are delighted that the Council has shown a commitment to our investment in this beautiful city.

"We know our hotel plans are exciting for Dunedin and we are very pleased to have established a framework to deliver a hotel that meets the desires of the local community."

The council agreed to sign the MoU during the non-public part of its meeting on February 24.

Betterways will make a decision about whether to pursue its appeal when the process agreed through the MoU has advanced enough to show that the proposal will be supported by the Council.

stadium dishdraw

Why can't one of the currently unused unfinished conference spaces in the stadium be refitted to house F&P? 

End of democracy

IWAS, I agree. A forthcoming District Plan change to accommodate the previously inadmissable, a panel of 'architectural experts', hand picked, no doubt, and a clear statement from the DCC's CEO that any attempt to object or appeal to the Environment Court is going to be fought by the DCC and the developers and, therefore, objectors are going to have to find a lot of money. It will be "onerous" for them.

As it stands, this building is a monstrosity, out of scale and badly located. But, clearly, it is to be steam-rollered through the 'planning' process. A pity there is no legal power of recall for local body representatives.

Turn the Stadium into a Hotel ?

now thats a good idea , sell it off for what was paid for it , allow a 5 star hotel onsite. Trouble is, the profit margin was so high, it's actually only worth 1/2 that or less . But at least at 4 storeys high, the impact visually is not as significiantly more than what the existing stadium is, and the traffic issues are already resolved .Whatever the case, if the proposed hotel is such a great idea for Dunedin, it should be ok to have it on the stadium site, right ?. And relieve ratepayers of the burden of the stadium at the same time

who is paying for it?

Are we as ratepayers paying for it like stadium? If not then who cares? I for one am all for progress in this city and if someone else is putting their own money into it, then great.

Maybe the DCC could turn the money wasting stadium into a 5 start hotel and start to make money for us ratepayers instead of what we are doing now, throwing our money down the toilet.

making it legal?

If the DCC initiates (and passes) a District Plan Change over the proposed site (presumably from industrial to commercial/residential), then the hotel/apartment proposal is far more likely to satisfy planning law and withstand any appeals against it to the Environment Court.

People have a right to make a submission opposing a Plan Change. So I suppose it can be argued that this process is democratic.

But it's pretty obvious that without this hotel/apartment proposal the DCC would not be initiating this Plan Change - in other words, the DCC appears to be acting to accommodate the entrepreneurs. (You can bet that the proposed Plan Change will allow what the entrepreneurs want to do.)

However, rather than just being blindly pro-development, the DCC might  be wisely hoping to save the ratepayers a great deal of public money by no longer having to try to uphold its own current District Plan against a persistent applicant willing to spend a great deal on money on pursuing legal planning processes.

So the best bet for anyone really opposed to the hotel/apartment development  (or to how wealth affects planning law) is to oppose the proposed Plan Change. And, of course, vice versa.

flails in the shadow

Good grief, southd. No-one has to be an expert to have an opinion. Praise healthy democracy, not sheep. But what have green economy jobs got to do with me? Or green anything? Perhaps, instead, you will enlighten us by writing something on plan changes, architecture, or bog standard curtain wall towers, then we might be lucky. Since we don't know anything about these except that they spell p-r-o-g-r-e-s-s, which wasn't taught at school.

Correction requested and confirmed

I never claim to be a registered architect - and definitely not a heritage architect which is a title that has no standing with the NZRAB. Radio New Zealand's Ian Telfer apologised earlier today for making the wrong attribution. I accept it was a genuine mistake. He kindly offered to make the text correction. No drama. 

Just a minute...

What if a new carisbrook aquatic centre was built on the former carisbrook grounds and the hotel people can have the rundown Moana pool site with carparks etc. Wow imagine the views!!

MOU "hotel" charade

DCC/Betterways trotted out their shared media release today, how lovely. They carefully frame (as always) the furiously contested development proposal as "a/the hotel".

(MOU) Betterways' application to build a 27-storey, five-star hotel at 41 Wharf Street was declined resource consent in June last year.

Betterways' written documentation for the resource consent application (LUC 2012-212) states the proposal is for “215 bedrooms, [and] 164 self-contained apartments”. However, in their report the council planner notes the applicant's plans “suggest there will be fewer apartments (approximately 140) and more hotel rooms (approximately 254)”. 

What was the "viability" back then at application? Not so definite, apparently, to tell how the floor plates would be occupied.

(today's media release) Jing Song says: We know our hotel plans are exciting for Dunedin...

Time to talk about the apartment/hotel mix - who are the audience, who are the buyers, who are the investors, indeed, who are the developers (hard to tell with all that black ink masking names in the MOU). Why should we care a flying toss about moving feasts that MUST be 27 storeys above ground.

Elizabeth Kerr

Since when has Elizabeth Kerr become a "heritage architect" as quoted on National Radio? Once again negative comments. I would like to ask Elizabeth how she would grow the city and the economy? How is she an expert on oil and gas and now on heritage? Where are all the so called green economy jobs going to appear from? What plans has she for all of us and what is she going to tell us to do next??

Everything breaks down sometimes

Indeed cityrise, "we use glass, steel and other up to date materials to build with."

This apartment complex, like all multi-storey buildings, will be highly dependent on electricity, and probably these days on a great deal of computer-operated "smart" technology.  Great when it works but - thinking about all the old buildings being earthquake strengthened - tough when there's a power cut such as happened in Christchurch when the quakes struck.  It will no doubt have its own fossil fuel powered generators for backup.  The backup does not appear to extend to computer-run systems, look at the places where "Sorry, the system's down" and "it's cash only I'm afraid".  And depending on how the lifts are powered and controlled, it looks as if Christchurch is onto something wise with its height limitation.  At a push 7 flights of stairs is do-able but you'd be looking for a smack in the snout if you cracked a joke about the benefits of exercise to someone who was paying top dollar to stay there; 27 flights is 20 flights more.  Jokers would be safer because by the time anyone made the trek on foot they would be in no condition to object, not even verbally.


I will remember today as the the day Dunedin lost its last vestiges of freedom and sense of community. I am now simply waiting for the day that I can say, "I told you so."


MikeStk, errrr, it's a lodge. There is a difference, look it up. 

Hmmmm a bridge to sell...

I think it's best you keep it, either burn it or get over it.

'hey it's 2014'

At Paul Taylor, you stated:

"check your calendars too.....hello it is 2014 now..... so time to catch up and move on.......these days we use glass, steel and other up to date materials to build with, not old rotten bits of board and crummy red bricks etc!!!!"

This truly had me in hysterics.  Having come from Auckland all the new stuff there is perpetually scaffolded and covered in tarps because it's all leaking.  At Orewa Beach 45mins north of Auckland, a nice little seaside town was ruined when a developer swung in and built a horrible high rise, much to everyone's dismay.  But like I say, money talks and they got their way, the council let it happen.  The "Nautilus" has been leaking since 2008 and the Auckland council is being sued for 30 million dollars.   This is a taste of your "progress".  I call these buildings pump and dumps.   You'll learn the hard way.  By the way, I have a bridge to sell you if you're interested.


Stevepf: You are correct in that there has been a small recovery in Hotel bookings after several years of really tough trading. So how do you think the local Hotels were supposed to afford expensive upgrades when they were on their knees? Do you really expect people to flock to Dunedin just because we have a five star hotel? Tariffs will be $300 and above so it will be a more exclusive clientele it will look to attract. We have had two accommodation providers go broke in the past year, Living Space and a well known motel in North Dunedin. Which NZ cities or towns have five star hotels other than Auckland and perhaps Queenstown? I have no problem with it being built but it is about Betterways selling the apartments, if the Hotel fails or doesn't do well it won't matter too much to Betterways as it will probably franchised out anyway.


Yet another chapter that is the epic "5 star hotel".You would think that the cranes are on site and construction is under way, funny what some consider a victory! , it's been two years to get to a memorandum of agreement that just appears to be more rubbish, but keep celebrating if it makes you feel good, that appears to be very important to you lot.

Waterfront hotel

God help us all. How appalling. Our cityscape is about to look ridiculous. Wrong size, wrong place but "progress" is all, even if it doesn't fit apparently.

I know . . . why don't we put a line of ridiculously tall, bright (Mega Mitre 10 shade) orange teeth next to the harbour in front of the hotel to complete the picture?!!

For what it's worth, I do support a hotel, but not that size or location. And I suspect it won't be filled in spite of all the optimistic projections. Nice to dream, but realism would be a good idea. Don't expect it's got a look-in now. 

Already have one

Pizzazz: we already have a 5 star hotel in Dunedin - I guess we will be relevant, or does it take two

5 star Hotel

While I appreciate the need for a 5 star Hotel in Dunedin, I am not convinced that the planned site is 5 star material, bounded by a main road one side and a railway line the other.  Wherever this hotel is built I hope that it will have style, elegance and character and is not just some tall glass (or worse concrete) block towering above the skyline.  Please look to architectural designs from around the world for innovative and pleasing structures.

counting chickens

The memo's provisions have yet to be met. First, traffic engineers have yet to agree that this site is usable for large-scale residential activity. Expert advice on this at the hearing was not propitious. Second, the urban design panel has yet to produce a design that suits the site and the developers' requirements. The developers have refused to modify the proposal so far. And third, a plan change to include this site in, say, Harbourside, allowing residential use, has yet to succeed. This site was removed from Plan Change 7: Harbourside because including it was not believed to achieve the purposes of the Resource Management Act.

But if these objections are all overcome by real changes to the proposal then I would withdraw my opposition. I would be sorry to see accommodation provided in a place so isolated from the services that the city provides, and would continue to believe that fracturing services of this nature is not consistent with good urban planning. I have yet to see any sign, though that the developers will accept any modification, let alone enough to meet the conditions of the memorandum of understanding.

Great news

Good on the DCC for getting this closer to a reality ..

For those that say "there is enough accom already", obviously haven't tried to book suitable business accommodation before, simply there is none!

Can't wait for the anti stadium (and everything else) mob to cry a river of tears over it..

Progress is great, it's jobs, tourism and a sign that this city is indeed progressive... 


Excellent news! It is becoming increasingly clear that every last cent put aside for the South Island will be directed at Christchurch. A 5 Star hotel in Dunedin is not only desirable, it is essential if Dunedin is to be relevant in the future.

A 'gift horse' that I for one, and numerous other people I know, will not be looking in the mouth.

Can I also say, I was anti-Stadium as were many of my friends and aquaintances, yet pretty much everyone I talk to is behind the development of this hotel. Good stuff.  

Insisting it must be there

Why: "to find whether a hotel can be constructed on this site that both realises Betterways' investment ambitions and benefits the city"?  Why the total "my way or no way" intransigence about putting a non-complying building on a small section with inconventient access to the CBD, most business, university, route to airport or highway?  Why even propose such a thing when the District Plan is perfectly clear?  It appears that Betterways has the measure of our elected representatives on Council, wave a picture of bundles of banknotes in front of their eyes and, hypnotised, they act as if their spines had been turned into jelly and their loyalty to candyfloss, impressively big till even the lightest pressure is applied.

Hotel traffic 'plan'

After the as yet unresolved  DCC/SH88/Hall Transport debacle it will be interesting to see how the "traffic plan" around the "proposed" hotel will develop and will it be made public for input before committment, or will it be heavily censored like the Memo of Understanding ? This is not an anti-hotel comment. But since the aforementioned SH88 mess and the stadium finance mess, one must be critically cynical.  

Harbourside Hotel

Brilliant...absolutely brilliant.

Well done to all involved.


Breathe and re read

If everyone took a few minutes to process what they have read then maybe it wouldn't seem so bad. Those that have gone straight to the default of criticising the size/design etc of the hotel has clearly chosen to read what they want to read. It wont be this design, they will work with Urban design people to find the right solution. Please re read with care.

Again stevesone, read the latest commercial accommodation data. Dunedin has had strong success this past quarter and consumer confidence is back. Don't worry motels and most hotels shouldn't be too affected as it will be FIVE STAR. This will bring with it a new market and will hopefully encourage those accommodation providers in the city who think its acceptable to not refurbish their properties in over 10+years to up their game.  

What part of 27 storeys is progress?

The 24 storeys on top of the 3rd... (me thinks)

Ouch for all the anti's

has to be a sore point to see any kind of progress like this for all the ''anit progress and naysayers'' out there....

times are changing so to all exisiting hotels owners it is about time you try some marketing to get more people to come and stay and maybe do up some of the crummy hotels out there.....or pull them down.

check your calendars too.....hello it is 2014 now..... so time to catch up and move on.......these days we use glass,steel and other up to date materials to build with, not old rotten bits of board and crummy red bricks etc!!!!

if you want the ''old'' for the rest of your living well Milton or Mataura have the perfect place for you.


Glitch and glamour

Agreed, I have been to Miami, South Beach is dominated by hotels, the "beach" is an afterthought .What I particulaly like about Dunedin is the heritage buildings, the influence of the university, the art school. The way the landscape dominates the built structures apart from the stadium, low rise. Dunedin just does not need this to thrive. Democracy has largely been ignored, seems to be a trend around the country. I am not anti progress, but this is a hugely retrograde step totally out of character. Where is the district plan, sorry, this site is not appropriate for the type of development proposed. 1 or 2 storeys, but no more. It's about not affecting the vast majority who will gain nothing from this eyesore. DCC step back right away from binding agreements and start debating whether high rise buildings are appropriate anywhere in Dunedin, particulaly on the waterfront. I mean honestly, CHCH has not chosen to go over 7 storeys, just what parallel universe is the DCC in? 

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