Fancy a little Miami Vice in Dunedin?
A proposed $100m, 28-storey hotel that will tower over Dunedin's waterfront has been slammed by local architects as a design that has been helicoptered in straight off the set of Miami Vice.
Plans for the controversial five-star, foreign-invested hotel were first announced in May and 67 public submissions have been lodged with the council so far, with more than half opposing the building.
Dunedin City Council resource consents manager Alan Worthington suspected the council could end up with a "record number" of submissions before the process closed next Friday.
The company behind the hotel development, Betterways Advisory Limited, lodged a resource consent application with the council to build the 96-metre waterfront hotel and apartment complex on Wharf St.
The 28-storey hotel would sit in an industrial area and tower over the surrounding three to four-storey buildings. It would contain 215 hotel bedrooms, 164 self-contained apartments, restaurants, bars, an indoor swimming pool and on-site parking.
The proposed hotel is earmarked to be built on reclaimed land which is at risk of seismic activity, the council said.
When the plan was first released, Dunedin residents told the Sunday Star-Times they thought it was a delayed April Fool's Day joke.
Building such a tall hotel on "what used to be a very marshy swamp" could land Dunedin with its very own Hotel Grand Chancellor - the Christchurch hotel left critically damaged by the earthquakes - architect Tim Heath said.
Heath, who had lived in Dunedin for about 50 years, said the "bizarre" proposal had generated strong opinion around the city and "I haven't heard one positive comment yet".
"It's just an out of place import that doesn't belong," he said.
As an architect, Heath said he was pro-development for Dunedin but this proposal carried too many concerns.
It would block harbour views for many parts of the city and cause significant shading to nearby areas, it would cause wind turbulence issues so close to the harbour, it was "completely out of context" and Heath did not believe Dunedin had enough resources and energy to support such a huge project.
He hoped the "misplaced development" would not be approved.
Simon Parker, co-director of Dunedin's Parker Warburton Team Architects, said the "alien building" was poorly designed and would not knit into the fabric of the city.
"We have a good, rich and diverse historic architecture and I would expect any new development to complement that, whereas this design could be straight from Miami or Dubai. It's as if it will be just picked up in a helicopter from the set of Miami Vice and transplanted down here."
The New Zealand Institute of Architects southern branch would lodge a submission to raise its concerns with the proposal, he said.
Other opposing submissions that had already been lodged said the hotel would be "totally out of proportion and character to the surrounding buildings" and there was "no place for such a tall building in Dunedin".
Tourism industry leaders contacted by the Star-Times all expressed excitement and positivity toward the proposal, yet Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said he had heard mixed views.
Some were encouraged by the foreign investment money which would flow into the city, but others were wary of the "reasonably bold and ambitious plan".
A public consent hearing on the application was expected to start in early December.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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