Demolition of Hydro Grand Hotel granted resource consent

Hydro Grand Hotel developer Allan Booth celebrates news that a resource consent for the hotel's demolition has been granted.
TETSURO MITOMO/FAIRFAX NZ

Hydro Grand Hotel developer Allan Booth celebrates news that a resource consent for the hotel's demolition has been granted.

Resource consent has been granted for the demolition of Timaru's Hydro Grand Hotel- but conditions may push back the project by several months.

In a decision released on Friday afternoon, independent commissioner Allan Cubitt granted resource consent for the demolition of the heritage building and the construction of its $42 million replacement- a mixed-use complex featuring a hotel, apartment building, and retail and office space.

The move has left developer Allan Booth "ecstatic".

Designs for the new Bayhill development in Timaru.
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Designs for the new Bayhill development in Timaru.

"Hopefully we've turned a corner and we can start to do cool stuff with the CBD," he said.

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"It's very important for the future development of Timaru."

The consent comes with several conditions, one of which may push back the demolition date for up to six months.

The demolition cannot take place until building consent is issued for the new buildings, and the finance and construction contracts were in place.

That will mean several months of detailed planning and design work before the Hydro will become rubble.

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Booth acknowledged the condition had come as a surprise.

He had initially planned to demolish the building soon after consent was granted.

"People in Timaru would have known "this guy's not full of rubbish and this is actually going to happen"," he said.

He estimated coming up with the detailed plans would take five to six months.

"We've gotta work with what we've gotta work with," he said.

The decision, and its conditions, can be appealed to the Environment Court under section 120 of the Resource Management Act 1991 within 15 working days of the decision's release.

Booth had not considered if he would appeal the condition. "I'll think about that next week."

He was "quietly hopeful" the decision would not be appealed by any opponents of the development.

The demolition and development had been opposed by some heritage groups, most notably the Timaru Civic Trust.

Timaru Civic Trust chairman David McBride could not be reached for comment before deadline on Friday.

Booth said he hoped the trust would realise "it's a bit of a waste of time, they'd be throwing money away".

Other conditions on the consent provided for the retention of some of the original building.

Some items of high heritage value, including stained glass windows, a timber newel post from the main staircase, and at least one concertina steel door had to be removed, restored, and built into "a public aspect of the new development".

A photographic record of the building also had to be undertaken, and plans to manage traffic, noise, and construction had to be completed.

Booth said the process so far had been "quite a drawn out" one.

He had initially believed, all going to plan, the Hydro may have been demolished by Christmas 2016.

However, hearing delays, an adjournment and requests for additional reports had pushed that back.

Despite the delays, Booth believed the decision may provide good guidelines for people considering developments in Timaru in the future.

According to Booth, whose co-backer in the development is agribusiness stalwart Alan Pye, progress was also largely dependent on marketing and pre-sales of the residential units.

"Overall we are looking to sometime late 2019 for completion."

 - Stuff

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