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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.''