Hotel height, design not negotiable: developer

Anticipated view of a hotel proposed for Moray Pl, in Dunedin. Image: Paterson Pitts Group.
Anticipated view of a hotel proposed for Moray Pl, in Dunedin. Image: Paterson Pitts Group.
The man behind Dunedin’s latest five-star hotel bid is calling for public support, but  says the building’s design and height are non-negotiable.

Tekapo businessman Anthony Tosswill was commenting as technical reports, prepared for his resource consent application, detailed the building’s impact on its surroundings.

As well as lost views for some neighbours immediately behind it,  the 17-storey building, which would be 64m at its highest point,  would cast a shadow over the Octagon on winter afternoons and funnel more wind down Moray Pl and Filleul St. As the public reacted to the project, the reports also confirmed the surrounding roads and other infrastructure could accommodate the development.

Mr Tosswill, in an email to the Otago Daily Times, said his team would try to address any "genuine objection" other than design or height.

The height limit for the site under the current district plan is 11m. Mr Tosswill accepted there would be "differences" over the building’s size, but a five-star hotel needed to be a "landmark".

"It must have views, as all do, it must be in a dominant position to service the community, business and tourists, [and] it must offer  facilities.

"Without this a five-star hotel will not be viable in Dunedin or elsewhere," he said.

The design aimed to  minimise the width of the building to reduce its impact on neighbours, but height ensured it could provide the 200 rooms needed by any five-star hotel, he said.

"Several designs were explored and we respectfully suggest we picked the best one."

It was "paramount" the community supported the project, and the growth of Dunedin, while catering for growing tourist numbers, he said.

"Being New Zealanders, we want to see growth and progress for our families and children. If we stop growth in hospitality and only do refits, we are [turning], and will, turn visitors away."

Mr Tosswill’s comments came as reports prepared by consultants for Mr Tosswill’s application detailed the technical considerations.

A shading assessment by Paterson Pitts Group showed the hotel’s shadow would stretch across the Octagon at winter solstice, between  2pm and 4pm, but cover only a few surrounding properties at summer solstice.

A wind report by JDH Consulting said the hotel’s three-tower design would reduce downwash, but its bulk could still funnel more wind down Filleul St and Moray Pl.

That could push wind speeds beyond recommended safety criteria,  possibly disrupt the  entrance door operation on some days, and potentially dislodge loose items on balconies, it said.

However, the company supported the development, saying Dunedin was already "quite a windy place" and it would be "difficult" for almost any "substantial" development to comply with wind speed criteria.

A transport assessment by Avanzar Consulting said Filleul St and Moray Pl could accommodate hotel traffic, which would be less than the vehicle movements associated with the site’s existing car park.

The hotel’s construction would cost the city 39 public and 102 leased car parks, as well as three on-street parks required to make way for a new hotel entrance off Moray Pl, it said.

The hotel would have 84 mainly below-ground car parks in the hotel’s basement levels, for use by guests and staff, and five above-ground coach parks.

The parking figures included four public car parks to cater for the hotel’s retail spaces and hot pools facility, which would be open to the public.

Vehicles would circle the hotel site in a clockwise direction and leave via a new Filleul St exit, connecting directly to the intersection’s proposed new roundabout.

The roundabout would also help reduce speeds and could be landscaped, helping improve the area’s urban design, it said.

A structural engineering report by GHD said piles could be driven into rock at the site, but groundwater would have "implications" for earthworks and the hotel’s levels that would be below ground level.

Three of the hotel’s 17 levels would be dug into the sloping site and partially underground, and a tower crane would be needed during construction, it said.

An infrastructure assessment, also by Paterson Pitts, said existing wastewater services could accommodate the hotel, but stormwater would need to be stored on site and released gradually to avoid "known stormwater flooding issues in the area".

A bore planned to provide artesian water for the hotel’s hot pools facility would require Otago Regional Council approval.The hotel’s water feature would largely rely on stormwater, and "green technology", including low-flow devices and the reusing grey water.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Comments

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Last chance Dunedin, if I were you I would get behind it, dont underestimate how much Dunedin needs this amenity regardless that some detail will not please everybody.

Not like this one we dont. Surely they could design something that is in keeping with ou heritage instead of opening the floodgates to destroying it and turning it into 'just another glass tower city". No thanks.

How many competitive low rise proposals have you seen, I suspect that speaks volumes to the economics of building hotels in Dunedin! Yes I am aware of the P.O conversion.

Interesting to read that wind drag effect is of concern, but that it is dismissed on grounds that Dunedin is windy anyway... Also shade factor in Octagon should be avoided in interest of intensive use for events and successful establishment of new and or better greenery . A new development should also not steel away the grandeur of the Town hall.

Here we go again with the usual bullying approach. "Get behind it but say nothing to contradict our plans". It's miles over the height restriction - and people are expected to not notice?! It's not in sympathy with the surrounding architecture at all. I have no objection to a hotel going there, but it's obviously not in keeping with the environment and the people of Dunedin DO have a right to offer feedback on design and height. The arrogance of telling us not to bother!! Who do these people think they are?

"...we want to see growth and progress for our families and children". Huge mistake, we haven't got to look far to see that attitude wrecking Queenstown. Our economic system urgently needs to adapt to the reality of absolute limits to population and urban growth, failure to do so will inevitably destroy our environment and us. Dunedin's best assets are its modest size, historic architecture and natural scenery, these are what most tourists come to enjoy. Permitting this oversized glass box to proceed will be the first step in turning Dunedin into just another world city that slowly gets overwhelmed by ever taller glass boxes. Better to encourage businesses that want to renovate the wealth of neglected historic architecture and protect the values that make Dunedin special. Those of you who hunger for the big city lifestyle - please move, you have plenty of overcrowded, overpriced, polluted, hyper stressed options to choose from.

If the District Plan provides for 11 metres height and the proposed design is 64 metres high, then clearly the City should not negotiate with Mr Tosswill. This arrogant intrusion should simply be rejected forthwith.

If it is the case that the District Plan limits height in this area to 11 metres, I would suggest there is something seriously wrong with the District Plan. Bear in mind that 11 metres is barely more than a two storey house. There must be over a dozen buildings which Moray Place encircles which are at least 3 times that height restriction already! There are buildings not much further away such as Otago House which are five times that height restriction.

I would suggest instead that there should be a *minimum* height of perhaps 15 metres in this area for new buildings to protect the integrity of the established building density and avoid 1 or 2 storey monstrosities amongst tall buildings like the former NZ Post building in The Exchange.

"The height limit for the site under the current district plan is 11m. Mr Tosswill accepted there would be "differences" over the building’s size, but a five-star hotel needed to be a "landmark".

Funny how Developers in the likes of Queenstown manage all right and not break the local height limits , (which from memory is 4 stories above the natural contour of the land any yet none seem to be able to manage to build under the much more generous height limits here.

Unbelievable what Luddites Dunedin folk seem to be. I was born, bred and regularly visit Dunedin and can't believe the attitude. Make no mistake this is good for Dunedin on so many levels (no pun intended) . Just get on with it and make it happen. If a few rules have to be bent to make it profitable for the developer so be it. The alternative is nothing and nothing is not a good outcome.

We have something good going here with the heritage restoration of our buildings, the recognition of our city in art design and literature. Our university's historic nature and our town Victorian appeal is what gives it character. Shoving this huge monstrosity as the backdrop for our city is not on. If people come here for that they are going to be horrified as I am by this monstrosity. It will open the floodgates to more of the type as it creates a precedence.

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