Planner critical of bulk, height in design of proposed hotel

An Auckland planning expert is not a fan of the design for the proposed Man St Hotel. IMAGE:...
An Auckland planning expert is not a fan of the design for the proposed Man St Hotel. IMAGE: SUPPLIED
An Auckland planner has shot down plans for a proposed five-star hotel in Queenstown.

The Queenstown Hotel (NZ) Ltd Partnership — comprising Trojan Holdings Ltd and Katdan Hotel NZ Ltd — applied for fast-track consent with the Environmental Protection Authority for the six-storey, 185-room hotel in Man St.

The backers had said it could provide a one-time boost in national GDP of $85 million and ongoing GDP benefits to the tune of $37m.

But University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning head Dr Lee Beattie was not supportive of the hotel’s design, by global architecture studio Woods Bagot.

Woods Bagot aimed to minimise the visual impacts while still providing panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables, but Dr Beattie raised concerns about the impacts of the proposed hotel’s height.

In his report to the authority, he pointed out that it would range from 16.75m at the eastern end to 24m at the western end — with its bulk and mass blocking public views.

Following a site visit in May, Dr Beattie concluded the hotel would have an adverse impact on public viewing opportunities of the landscape values that make Queenstown what it is, from several locations, including Man St and Earnslaw Park.

He noted, though, he could have supported extra height if the proposal had broken up the bulk and height more effectively with a "slim and elegant design response " that protected view shafts.

The panel’s minute said having considered Dr Beattie’s report, along with others, and undertaken their own site visit, they found the concerns raised over the height and bulk "persuasive".

Dr Beattie had also raised concerns about the building at ground level as it lacked sufficient entry points.

The panel has encouraged the applicant to respond to the points raised in Dr Beattie’s report. — Additional reporting Tracey Roxburgh

By Olivia Judd