New hotel design would have been 'extraordinary'

Betterways Advisory Ltd was working on an ''extraordinary'' new high-rise hotel design for Dunedin, with help from architectural designer Fred van Brandenburg, when it scrapped the project, it has been claimed.

Jing Song, of Queenstown, told the Otago Daily Times she had recruited Mr van Brandenburg, the principal of Architecture van Brandenburg, to help redraw plans for the hotel. 

Mr van Brandenburg, who has an office in Dunedin, has worked on designs for Millbrook Resort and several luxury lodges.

In 2009, he was asked to design a 75,000sq m fashion house worth hundreds of millions of dollars, featuring gardens, a hotel, catwalk, factory, water features and a 35m-high lotus leaf tower.

Ms Song said Mr van Brandenburg, who was a friend, had been recruited in response to community concern about the original hotel's height and appearance.

He had already presented some ''fantastic ideas'', and that work was continuing, simultaneously with work on traffic problems, when Monday's decision to scrap the project was announced.

The revised design was not expected to be considered by a new urban design panel until after the traffic issues were resolved.

However, Ms Song said the new design would have been ''completely different''.

''Nothing was like what we'd done before. We were looking at an iconic look ... a different shape and a completely different concept.

''We had some really fantastic ideas shown to us, and it's very shameful that we didn't even get to that stage.''

Ms Song said that was likely to have included a reduction in the building's 27-storey height, which triggered much of the controversy when plans for the project were revealed in 2012.

''We wanted to offer something extraordinary to Dunedin - we always have been.

''We were willing to deliver those extra miles.''

Mr van Brandenburg could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Asked if his design work could continue for a new hotel at the Otago Regional Council's waterfront site, Ms Song said: ''I don't know. No. Well, at this stage, I've said stop.''


Van The Man

Who's van Braderburg, already? The story mentions van Brandenburg.

Beggars? Seriously?

Braddles seems to think of Dunedin people as 'beggars'.  . I'm not sure I would class the Dunedin community in a stance of obeisance to anyone simply because they promise big. This city has learned the hard way that 'trickle down' promises are fairy tales.  Braddles is still buying the fairy tale it seems and is happy to nod and smile when a well funded person appears flashing money; if we are 'beggars' then I guess Betterways are the Great and the Good who wish to nobly bestow wonders upon our little township.  We should be so happy for their blessing. Please. I'm not convinced. Those who looked with a beady eye at any such promises have declared Dunedin People are not beggars.

If this had happened elsewhere?

Craypot: Let's see her propose this in Queenstown (where Ms Song lives) which, last time I looked, is a resort town . They are way stricter than Dunedin and this wouldn't even get started. For one they have height restrictions , buildings have to complement the rest of the town and not stick out like a sore thumb and many more. If she was to propose this there there would be major compromises on Betterways part, so why couldn't they do the same here.

Building this (in its current design) in a city with exsisting highrises is one thing; building it in a city where its completely out of place is another.

Not the council's fault this time

QSRC: Turn down a Van Bradenburg design! Why are you so stupid? 

No-one got a chance to even see the design. Ms Song herself said she stopped the project before that far.It was no surprise she cancelled it when the traffic options were revealed. Or maybe the fact was Betterways would not compromise. They wouldnt move to another location (several were suggested), they wouldn't lower the height (or what was the actual height of the "new design" 26 stories is less than 27), They already said in that location to be viable it had to be that high so and reduction wouldn't have been enough.

It seems they never did due diligence in checking their project met all laws, local bylaws, the district plan and the RMA.

For once this isn't the council's  fault. Betterways simply expected to flash the wallet and we'd all fall into line. They didn't even provide the council with the requested information deeming thats it wasn't required for the proposal to pass. Even if the council changed the district plan and local bylaws the fact is the project fails in the RMA hearing. 

This project was doomed from the start because of Betterways' attitude.


Beggars can't be choosers

Dunedin can't cry foul when there are job losses announced in the city (Hillside, NZ Post, Invermay) because the city shuns new job opportunities such as the hundreds this hotel would have created. Great cities leap at opportunity, dying cities whinge and complain about change and scare off opportunity. Dunedin is fast becoming a massive retirement village. Our kids won't stay - they'll move to inspiring cities where change and progress is embraced. 

If this had happened elsewhere

If this had happened in Rotorua or any other resort town all stops would have been pulled out to work the community in with the developer - after all "these things reduce rates and offer employment year after year".  A separate experienced body of accredited persons would have been appointed to oversee that the initiative received the best possible advice and service. The word will be now well and truly out to forget Dunedin as a tourist development, the locals just wont have a bar of it and the research monies are better used elsewhere . So it's a city with natural charm and very scenic .. but .. see it by caravan or mini bus ..and move on to Queenstown for accommodation. 

Stupid Dunedin people

Turn down a Van Bradenburg design! Why are you so stupid?

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