Super brothel 'positive addition to Auckland'

SIMON DAY
Last updated 12:40 12/11/2012
A drawing of the 12-storey super-brothel Chow Group plans for opposite SkyCity in Auckland.
HIGH-RISE SEX CLUB: A drawing of the 12-storey super-brothel Chow Group plans to open opposite SkyCity in Auckland.

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A 15-storey super brothel planned for Auckland's central city will "be a positive contribution to the cityscape," according to the building's architect.

A resource consent hearing today got underway at the Auckland Town Hall for John and Michael Chow's Penthouse Club in Victoria St, where the historic Palace Hotel once stood opposite SkyCity.

The hotel was demolished in November 2010 after being damaged while under the Chows' care.

Architect Paul Brown said the brothers considered the proposed location excellent for their entertainment businesses.

"The site occupies a prominent corner location opposite the entrance to the Sky City Casino and is ideally suited to redevelopment for the intended purposes," Brown said.

The building will feature a ground level bar and restaurant. A first-floor mezzanine will host a brothel and accommodation will be located on the third and fourth floors.

A strip club will occupy the first and second floors. Hotel rooms will be on the fifth to eighth floors.

Auckland Council received 220 public submissions opposing the project, and one offering conditional support.

About 20 people are expected to speak at the hearings over the next three days.

Today is largely expected to be taken up by the Chows' lawyer Russell Bartlett presenting their case and possibly calling witnesses.

The public's moral objections to the planned activities are not relevant to the hearing, landscape architect Rachel de Lambert said today.

"The vast majority of submissions in opposition are from individuals, religious and community groups opposed to one of the activities proposed to be accommodated within the building," she said.

"The activity is not a matter for consent. These submissions are therefore not relevant.

"Submissions suggesting a moratorium on development in the site due to concerns surrounding the demolition of the Palace Hotel are also not relevant to the hearing," de Lambert said.

Last week Auckland Council senior planner Jennifer Valentine recommended the building go ahead, subject to any ''contrary or additional information'' being received at the hearing.

A decision on the brothel is expected to be made within 15 days after the hearing finishes.

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