Hotel design may be revised again

An artist's impression of the revised hotel design.
An artist's impression of the revised hotel design.
The man behind Dunedin's latest five-star hotel bid may go back to the drawing board again, after a new look for his project failed to win over critics.

Dave Cull
Dave Cull

Tekapo businessman Anthony Tosswill yesterday indicated he would consider another round of design changes, just days after unveiling a revised plan for the building.

He blamed media coverage of the new look for turning the public against the project, after the Otago Daily Time reported on Tuesday he was not happy with the latest design.

The new look had aimed to address criticism of the earlier 17-storey mirrored glass tower design, by ''dramatically'' reducing the building's height and appearance, among other changes.

However, Mr Tosswill also told the ODT the results were ''terrible'' and designed to ''get something built''.

''It's not a landmark. It's not going to be another Dunedin stadium, or anything like that, which I think is sad and a shame.''

But critics were still not impressed this week, as online commentators panned the building.

Of 1600 people responding to an online poll on, 53% thought the new design was ''awful''.

Only 17% of respondents liked it, 18% said they did not mind it and 12% said it was not great, but better than the last design.

However, Mr Tosswill found supporters yesterday in Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and deputy mayor Chris Staynes, the chairman of the council's economic development committee.

Cr Staynes said design was ''in the eye of the beholder'' but the latest revision did not appeal to him.

''It just seems to me that it's - I hate to say it - but maybe a government building from the 1970s.

''It was a pretty bad looking building.''

Despite that, Cr Staynes said Mr Tosswill should be applauded for his persistence.

Tourism statistics underscored the ''constrained'' capacity of accommodation in the city, and a new hotel was desperately needed, he said.

He preferred the earlier glass tower design, and said it was ''sad'' Mr Tosswill's attempts to mollify critics had led to the latest revision.

''I feel sorry for him. I think, as a city, we're really, really lucky that he's prepared to put in all this effort to try and get something there and get it right.

''I think we've got to get a new hotel and I think it's a credit to Tony that he's trying to get the right thing there.''

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull would not comment on the latest design, but said he made ''no secret'' of his desire to see a hotel built on the site, opposite the Dunedin Town Hall.

''It's been on council's books for 20 years, for that purpose. I'd like to get a result that works for the developer and is acceptable to the community.''


The only thing wrong with this is, people are in summer clothing, the sky is blue and it looks warm, for Dunedin it needs to be grey skys, warm jackets rain and grey boring old buildings. Mr Anthony Tosswill I wish you well. But the majority of Dunedin does not deserve such a chance for such an awesome gift to create employment, but future generations do, the old school money in the town don't like change, want to keep the city as a boring little place. I would say you will get worn down and give up very soon. I commend you for your efforts thus far. I 'm shocked that this is reported Dunedin Cull and Staynes now support this. Maybe they know its not going to happen and just want some public credibility because Cull knows he is on the out and is past his useful date.

Spot on comment....It's a building, that's all...It's not a monument, not a nod to classic Dunedin architecture. It's a building!
The 'old guard' of Dunedin want everything their way. Why SHOULD Mr Tosswill have to please EVERY individual in Dunedin to get his hotel build?
Honestly, if we keep this attitude going, Dunedin will be full of 'classic' empty buildings.
We should be damned grateful he is choosing to invest in the city!

You are right Mr Tosswill. This design is a dunger. When you redesign it, perhaps you could address the prescription that allows a building to go ahead as of right. This way you could save yourself huge planning costs and us all a lot of grief. As of right on that site you may put a building that lines, i.e. defines the street. Use this as a starting point. The height limit is 11m. Allow yourself a departure over some (abutting Filleul St) of the site, say 16m in line with the 2GP that will soon be operative. Materials that you may use as of right are primarily masonry. Look to the parking building opposite for acceptable ways of using masonry there. Entrances need to come off the street providing public engagement with your development. Your architects have shown a sorry disregard for making your building a contribution to the street life of Dunedin so far. Encourage them to see this prescription as a desirable achievement - you're not just building a hotel for people to stay in (it's Wednesday - must be Dunedin) but a three dimensional solid piece of Dunedin's street-life. Ask your architects to read the rules for what you can build as of right, and go from there.