Central Auckland super brothel approved

STEVE HOPKINS
Last updated 15:52 30/11/2012
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 in the heart of Auckland city has been approved.

Four independent hearing commissioners today gave permission for Michael and John Chow to build the Penthouse Club on Victoria St West, opposite SkyCity, following a three-day hearing earlier this month.

Auckland Council received more than 200 public submissions against the brothel.

The club will feature a ground level bar and restaurant. A first-floor mezzanine will host a brothel and another restaurant and bar.

A strip club will occupy the first and second floors. A larger brothel will be on the third floor. Hotel accommodation will be on the fourth to eighth floors.

Levels nine and 10 will be offices and the top two levels a rooftop bar.

The brothel will be built on the site left vacant by the Palace Hotel which was demolished in November 2010 after being damaged while under the Chows' care.

In approving the plan, the commissioners said their decision was purely based on the building, and could not take into account the demolition of the Palace Hotel or the fact the building would be used, in part, as a brothel.

"The actual and potential effects in relation to character, streetscape, amenity, internal amenity, transportation, safety, and heritage are all considered to be acceptable."

The majority of submissions against the development were opposed to sex services offered there, but the commissioners said a brothel was a permitted activity in the area under the Resource Management Act 1991 and they did not  "see how the proposed brothel could be said to be likely to cause a nuisance of serious offence to ordinary members of the public".

The Stop Demand Foundation was concerned the hotel floors of the development could be used to create a "mega brothel".

The commissioners said there were no provisions under the Prostitution Reform Act concerning the maximum size of brothels, but if there was to be a change to the proposed layout and use of the building, that could be readdressed at that time.

The commissioners also found no issues with the proposed design and required no changes.

However, a condition of the application being approved was that the Chows' two-storey media screen, to cover levels three and four, be moved slightly to align with the eastern edge of the middle section glazing on the Victoria St West side.

Submitters have 15 days to appeal the decision.

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