CBD may get new hotel

Aerial pic of Moray Place, including the area being considered for the new hotel. Photo by ODT.
Aerial pic of Moray Place, including the area being considered for the new hotel. Photo by ODT.

The Dunedin City Council appears to be in talks about another new top-end hotel - this one in the city's central business district.

The Otago Daily Times understands a hotel chain is interested in developing the council-owned Filleul St car park site, opposite the recently redeveloped Dunedin Centre convention venue.

Senior council staff said yesterday the council was in early talks with a party that recently expressed interest in the site, but declined to confirm any details.

Council infrastructure and networks general manager Tony Avery said discussions were still in the initial stages and there was ''nothing definitive'' to report.

Economic development and property manager Robert Clark said the potential development under discussion was an ''exciting opportunity''.

He would not confirm the talks were about a hotel, but said the development being discussed would be ''something that would have a lot of synergies with the convention centre next door''.

A multimillion dollar refurbishment of the Dunedin Centre across the road from the site was completed last year, turning the town hall, Glenroy Auditorium and Municipal Chambers facilities into a modern convention venue.

Mr Avery said the council had made no secret over the years it was interested in the Filleul St site being developed.

With the redevelopment of the town hall, now would be an even more opportune time for that to happen. 

The talks are coincidental with the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding between the council and Chinese developers interested in building a 27-storey 5-star hotel near the city's waterfront.

It agreed in the memorandum to work on resolving issues around access to the central city from the Wharf St site proposed for the hotel.

If that could be done, it would then put the project to an urban design panel, before looking at a plan change which would allow the hotel to proceed, in what is at present an industrial-zoned area.

Steve Rodgers, of Betterways Ltd, the developer of the proposed Wharf St Hotel, said another company trying to build a new hotel in Dunedin would not affect its project.

''It would be great for the city to have two 5-star hotels.

There is certainly a large need for it. Let's get the city at least one.''

Another hotel developer, Geoff Thomson, of Invercargill, is expected, following the first of new commercial tenants moving in, to soon start developing the rest of Dunedin's former chief post office building into a 4-star-plus hotel operated by his company Distinction Hotels.

It is understood the interested hotel chain is not already represented in Dunedin. Several were contacted with no response.

A spokeswoman from the Accor Group confirmed it was not involved.

A spokeswoman for Heritage Hotels said the company was always interested in opportunities in Dunedin, but it did not comment about any potential developments until all parties were satisfied.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said it was well-known the council had thought for a long time the Filleul St site would be good for a hotel or other development.

''The fact someone has come along is really positive''.

He said he did not expect various hotel projects in the city, or the council's involvement, or potential involvement, with any of them, would clash, and it was not for the council to put any one project ahead of any other.

''We welcome any hotel proposal that advances the aspirations of our community, so long as it fits with our rules.''

debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

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