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Dunedin has among the best event facilities in New Zealand, but it is vital that visitors have...
Dunedin has among the best event facilities in New Zealand, but it is vital that visitors have somewhere to stay in our cityStar attraction ... The proposed Dunedin five-star hotel. Photo: supplied.
Public submissions over the proposed Dunedin five-star hotel, in Moray Pl, closed this week.  Tony Tosswill, director of New Zealand Horizon Hospitality Group Ltd, the organisation behind the project, says why he believes Dunedin people should get in behind the project.

We believe the new building, innovation and technology will allow us to complement and focus on the importance of the historical features of Dunedin.

We know that new developments excite discussion and sometimes controversy, but a beautiful city like Dunedin is obliged to embrace its future in concert with its past.

Dunedin has  Forsyth Barr Stadium, which is now rated in the top 20 stadia globally and fortunately overcame the numerous objections  trying to prevent it from happening. Similar reactions were evident in London over the The Shard, the Gherkin [30 St Mary Axe] and the London Eye — which today are all accepted as notable English landmarks. There are some public misconceptions around the Dunedin proposal, which I would like to clarify.

● External glazing used will not be "mirrored".  Regarding the building’s height, to attain a sustainable development and taking into consideration community and residents behind, we took the following into account:

● We reduced the width of the building as much as possible to provide view channels for the residents behind us.  This, understandably, resulted in some further elevation but in our opinion it is important  a five-star hotel has some rooms with views. Our design provides views of the city and across its wonderful Otago Harbour.

● There are 16  building levels but the effective overall height of the hotel and units is only 13 storeys, the same  height as other buildings in Dunedin.

● Commercial and economic reasons were also considered, so residential inner-city units were introduced to support the local business community and enhance central inner-city living, which is almost non-existent in Dunedin. By offering  unit sales, it  reduces the debt and enhances the viability of the development.

The unique array of retail outlets being introduced to the city are primarily innovative services not available in the city and/or are night services when virtually all retail is closed. For example: hot pools, 24-hour coffee shop, local arts and crafts, along with services like electric bike hire and charging stations and wine club. The conference facilities have been designed with break-out meeting rooms to support the exhibition and function centre and Dunedin Venues. There is no intent to compete; our only desire is to complement.    We noted there were some concerns relating to shadow effects and  wind effects of the building. Local and Australian consultants were engaged to provide a report on these issues. These are available via the DCC resource consent we have lodged. The reports dismiss any concerns related to either shadowing or wind.

We do not think we can duplicate the fantastic architecture of the historic buildings of Dunedin. To us it would be inappropriate.

Here are some of the benefits of this hotel development.

● This new hotel, strategically nestled within the central Dunedin precinct, will open up multiple economic and social opportunities for our city.

● Increased employment directly and indirectly.

● Increased tourism/visitor opportunities now with a five-star choice.

● Accommodation options for high-profile visitors/groups/investors.

● A globally branded five-star operator would market this Dunedin hotel  across their networks.

● Increase the marketing status of Dunedin as a premium conference venue.

● Boost the marketing of Dunedin as a top venue for sporting events.

● Increase opportunities for Dunedin to promote itself as a  vibrant and elegant city which embraces both new and heritage architecture.

● Support the town hall facility, adjacent to the development, to generate new revenue for the benefit of  city ratepayers.

● Accommodating up to an additional 400 guests nightly.

● Support and promote local tourism ventures, amenities and outlets.  

● Delivers tourist activities in the centre of town (e.g. hot pools, electric bikes etc)

. ● Provide 24-hour services currently not available in Dunedin.

● Displaying appropriate local iwi art and taonga (treasures) with possible pounamu/wood carving area on site.

This development will be a major economic generator, contributing via the council back to the community through additional rates revenue as a hotel and resident complex. Wouldn’t it be nice, in the event of another concert like Fleetwood Mac or the upcoming Ed Sheeran, to have enough of the right type of accommodation available rather than visitors flying back to Auckland or having to go outside the city  to book  accommodation?

Dunedin has among the best event facilities in New Zealand, but it is vital that visitors have somewhere to stay in our city. The hotel is all  about promoting a Dunedin that is "open for development, tourism and business" and that innovation and technology be incorporated to complement the beautiful architecture that exists in Dunedin. The design in relation to height is intended to support the CBD area, being defined as a landmark. It is not our intention to replicate the old, historic valued buildings of Dunedin but  enhance them by blending "old" with "new" to highlight the existing architecture and signify Dunedin’s readiness to move forward and support future growth. We are confident that this development will attract both domestic and international investment into Dunedin. The  city will be perceived in a new light as at long last  it will finally have its very own five-star hotel. 

Comments

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Mr Tosswill says "in our opinion it is important a five-star hotel has some rooms with views". A view can be of anything, not necessarily of distant hills and waterways. There are many visitors to Dunedin who, like those residents who oppose this development, would be as happy to have a view of the historic architecture. And while Dunedin's physical setting is superb, so too are many of its streetscapes. I'm thinking of the ones that complement the setting, not those that overbear it as this development proposes.

There was nothing fortunate about building that stadium, as an investment it hemorrhages money , it's supposed to work the other way, if Elton John can't make it profitable nothing will. The city should have invested in a million other ideas to attract tourists here that would have had an economic benefit. The stadium sucks up money from the rest of the city, like for instance we can't keep south dunedin as dry as we used to be able too. Grass verges aren't cut as often as they used to be etc the list is endless

I don't want my room with a view over this monstrosity. Who is more important? This will drive us away from living here.

He is so persuasive, but really we have to realise his enthusiasm is for the profits he will make NOT for us, the locals. He has plans for these huge monsters in some of New Zealand most stunningly beautiful places e.g. Tekapo. We all know what has happened to Queenstown. Yes 'it is vital that visitors have somewhere to stay in our city', but what about existing residents? This will drive people out. Build the 70 flats plus hotel in a more subtle place. One thing's for sure- he will not live here himself overlooking it.

What are the rates concessions that the developer will get? In what condition is the utility infrastructure such as the sewage system to cope with this development? What are the traffic studies to deal with increased traffic patterns? How can a building of such a statue not have adverse wind and shadow effects??

Mr Tosswill fails to provide any convincing argument for the hotel proceeding in its current design. There is nothing altruistic about such a development and to attempt to present it in these terms is laughable. Sure, there would be financial benefits for some people in the city in having a 5 star hotel. Does that outweigh the negative impact on the majority of citizens who would have to live with such a blot on the landscape - and skyline?! Why are some of the other hotels already in the city not challenged to raise their standards to 5 star? Other options for cheaper accommodation could be provided for in other areas. As for 24-hour facilities of one sort or another... it doesn't require that such a building be built for these to happen. Citing examples of ugly constructions in London in no way justifies an ugly glass box being plonked into central Dunedin. Just because something is a landmark doesn't mean it is either appropriate nor beautiful. Mr Tosswill and his company are proposing a business development. Fine. Just don't treat the residents of Dunedin as gullible enough to think that it is not possible to build in styles consonant with existing architecture in the city.

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