Neighbours fight loss of harbour viewsSave
By Kirsty Wynn
Owners of apartments in Auckland's CBD are set to fight the planned construction of a world-class waterfront hotel - after discovering it would block their sweeping harbour views.
Viaduct Harbour Holdings Ltd - a group of wealthy business executives - last month launched a worldwide search through Colliers International for a development partner to build the 165-room luxury hotel on Custom Street West.
But the hotel they have proposed exceeds the height the Unitary Plan allows - and would block the harbour views for nearby apartments.
Apartment owners at 1 Hobson Street were distressed to see the plans for the hotel and said they bought knowing there was a height restriction of 16.5m up to the water.
Penthouse apartment owner Richard Sorrenson met with other body corporate members this week to discuss an action plan.
"We are not opposed to any development as long as it is within the rules of the new Unitary Plan," Sorrenson said.
"The Unitary Plan has taken a long time to create and we (the body corporate) firmly believe everyone, whether a small or a large property owner, must operate within its rules."
Sorrenson said the group had approached Auckland Council and if an application for resource or building consent was made, they would fight it.
"We will, at the appropriate time, vigorously oppose any proposed development that flouts these rules. The proposed development, in its currently advertised form, is twice as high and three times as bulky as the rules allow."
Retired Auckland cardiologist Dr Sivasambu Anandaraja on level 13 was also distressed when he saw the plans for the hotel.
"When we bought this property off the plans in 1998 there was nothing here but there was a crane," Anandaraja said.
"I got them to take me up as high as they could go and I just fell in love with the view and we put our downpayment on the apartment that day."
His wife Dr Rohini Anandaraja said the view was most amazing at night.
"With all of the beautiful lights on the water it is a fairyland, it is magical."
The proposed hotel would be front and centre of their view they said.
"It looks to be a twin tower monstrocity that breaks all of the rules."
Last month Viaduct Harbour Holdings Ltd revealed its plans to build the 5-star hotel with signature eateries and a roof top bar.
To be renamed "One Market Square" the proposed hotel, designed by renowned architectural firm Warren and Mahoney, would face the sea on two sides with stunning views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf.
When told of the opposition to the hotel, Viaduct Harbour Holdings chief executive Angela Bull said it was only early stages.
"The world-class waterfront hotel at One Market Square is a proposal only at this stage and, like any proposed development, will be subject to the usual council consenting process," she said.
"Auckland desperately needs more hotels, with the Government estimating an extra 4300 rooms are needed for the city to keep up with demand from New Zealand's ongoing tourism boom.
"A five-star luxury hotel is not only appropriate for the site, but will bring significant economic benefits to the Viaduct Harbour area and the wider Auckland region."
Auckland Council confirmed the height restriction in the area was 16.5m.
A spokesperson said there had been no applications for the site.