Penthouse Club for new super-brothel

21:00, Apr 04 2011
HIGH-RISE SEX CLUB: A drawing of the 10-storey super-brothel Chow Group plans for opposite SkyCity in Auckland.
HIGH-RISE SEX CLUB: A drawing of the 10-storey super-brothel Chow Group plans for opposite SkyCity in Auckland.

Wellington sex trade entrepreneurs Michael and John Chow have revived their plans for an Auckland super-brothel.

They are planning to put up a 10-storey "entertainment and hospitality centre", including a Penthouse Club, on the site of a historic Auckland hotel that was demolished last year.

The new building, opposite the SkyCity Casino, will also include a "gentlemen's club", Chow Group lawyer Max Tait said yesterday. It would be completed in early 2013.

Mr Tait said the group had secured the New Zealand and Australian rights to run Penthouse Clubs – adult-themed private clubs with sex shows featuring magazine models. The new Auckland club would be the first in the Asia-Pacific region.

The building is planned for the site of the 124-year-old Palace Hotel, which was demolished in November on instructions from Auckland Council.

The Chow brothers bought the hotel in 2008 for $3.3 million and the heritage building was being renovated for conversion into a brothel, which was to have opened in time for the Rugby World Cup.

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The council ordered its demolition after engineers found its walls were moving and cracking.

Engineers found the owners failed to ensure the building was being safely renovated and that its basement walls were not adequately supported.

The council is considering prosecution and has sent the Chow Group a $200,000 bill for costs associated with the demolition.

Co-director John Chow said: "It was sad to see it torn down, but the new development will be better than ever and the entire facility will provide a level of entertainment and hospitality to an international standard brand new to Auckland."

It would include underground parking, a basement lounge bar, a ground floor restaurant and bar, a two-floor Penthouse Club, offices, a gentlemen's club and a roof garden bar and swimming pool.

A council spokeswoman said no application had yet been lodged for a resource consent, and its demolition bill had not been paid.

Michael Chow said matters relating to the demolition, including the council bill, were being handled by the group's lawyers. He did not know how much the new building would cost, as quantity surveyors were yet to provide any estimates.

The Chow Group runs a Wellington brothel and strip club and owns other property in the city.

The Historic Places Trust is still considering whether to prosecute the group for failing to seek an archaeological authority before demolishing the former Settlement Restaurant in Wellington in January.

The building was demolished to make way for a proposed 12-storey apartment block.

The Dominion Post