Britomart Developer Lifts Sights on Hotel
Britomart Developer Lifts Sights on Luxury Waterfront Hotel
The developers of the Britomart precinct have submitted a private plan change to Auckland City Council to facilitate the construction of a world class five star hotel on the land set aside for a hotel when the Britomart block was purchased from Auckland City Council a number of years ago.
The company has done extensive work on design aspects and believes a taller, slimmer building is essential if Auckland is to make the most of the opportunity to create a significant new waterfront hotel in Quay Street.
The principal change sought in the private plan change is increase in the allowable height to 80 metres. This would make possible a new building about the height of Number One Queen Street, on the western side of Queen Street, but lower than the PWC Tower further to the west
A new hotel of international five star quality on this outstanding waterfront site, close to the overseas passenger terminal, would help attract more tourists and visitors to the city and in turn create more employment and economic activity in the city, impacting on many jobs outside the hotel. It will assist in Auckland its quest to become the first city of the Pacific and a city offering truly international quality facilities and experiences. Public facilities in the hotel are likely to include a rooftop pool bar overlooking the harbour, restaurants, art - filled public spaces and conference facilities.
‘We want to work closely with the city on this, and seek wide input into the development of a design which is uniquely South Pacific in nature, and part of a fitting gateway to the city from the sea,” said Matthew Cockram, chief executive of the Britomart development company.” We only have one chance to get this right, and it is important for Auckland that we do. We certainty can’t do it with the current height restriction on that particular piece of land.
“Our work with an international five star hotel operator has convinced us that a five star hotel is actually designed from the inside out. By this, I mean that particular room and suite sizes and configurations are needed, together with specific requirements for service facilities, that dictate floor size, and in turn the bulk of a building. It is not a matter of designing a building with the maximum parameters allowed on a particular site and then seeing how many rooms can be fitted inside”
At this stage the company has done little work on overall design concepts for the exterior of the new hotel.
“What we need at this stage is certainty of an adequate envelope, within which we can meet the needs of an international operator, create a bold, beautiful and inspiring building that also makes economic sense and makes a major contribution to the city,” says Matthew Cockram
We are doing work to ensure that a taller thinner building would not create shade or wind problems on Takutai Square to the south, as well as assessing the impact on view shafts. At this stage we believe the outcomes would be preferable to the impact of a shorter wider hotel building originally envisaged on the site.
“The economics of the project are finely balanced, and the original concept for a hotel on this very valuable site simply won’t work”
The site is currently occupied by the dilapidated Seafarers House, which would need to be demolished before construction could commence. The final design will incorporate and retain the adjoining heritage buildings known as Altrans and Quay Buildings to give a 1560 square metre site.
Later this year, construction of two 55 metre tall buildings will begin on land to the south and east of the hotel site, offering over 34, sqm of office, retail and residential space over 12 floors.
Overall, redevelopment of the Britomart precinct into a mixture of both restored historic buildings and modern new buildings is proceeding to plan.
Mr Cockram said the prospect of the wharves opposite the Britomart site being redeveloped in the reasonably near future emphasised the importance of creating a gateway waterfront hotel which Auckland would be proud of.
‘We look forward to working with the Council and with other interested parties to ensure that Auckland gets a world-class result.