Bayhill Developments Limited, led by South Canterbury businessman Allan Booth, has applied for resource consent for a mixed use office, apartment, retail and hotel complex at 10 The Bay Hill in Timaru.
Development plans include demolishing the 102-year-old Hydro Grand Hotel, which has stood derelict and unoccupied for the past 10 years and building three separate but linked buildings around a public courtyard on the 0.25ha site, overlooking Caroline Bay.
Booth said that design elements of the development had been peer reviewed by an independent Urban Design Panel before being submitted, “and we’ve taken a lot of that feedback on board.”
In acknowledging the history of the site, the proposed six-floor office building had been designed to reflect the Hydro Grand’s corner and triangular shape. The office building would include food and beverage tenancies at ground floor and commercial tenants on the remaining floors, while the top floor was able to be configured for either offices or apartments.
The seven-floor apartment building would also feature food and beverage outlets on the ground and first floor fronting The Bay Hill, with 32 apartments on the remaining five floors. The proposed hotel, which would form the final stage of the development, would feature 68- rooms. In that respect, Booth said there had been early discussion with a number of interested hotel partners but nothing would be finalised pending the result of the consent process.
The development would boost available parking in the area by 63 bays, while secure cycle and storage areas would be provided for the apartments and loading and service areas for ground floor tenants.
“The project team did a lot of work to ensure all options for the site had been considered. This includes refurbishment options to restore the hotel to a working hotel that met current earthquake code and safety standards.
“On embarking on the project, I had a pretty open mind about all the possibilities for the site, but it soon became quite clear that any thought of retention and refurbishment of the old Hydro would be an expensive and futile exercise. At that point, I changed my focus to what would best suit the unique location and of course would work. This is the result,” said Booth.
A report by Architects Salmond Reed, who advised on redevelopment options for the Hydro Grand, acknowledged that while the Hydro Grand was a notable architectural feature of the Timaru business district, the facilities of the building were “wholly unsuited to modern use” and that “...the cost of retention of the existing building and adapting this to meet the contemporary performance standards of a modern hotel, cannot achieve a commercial return on that investment.”
Project consultants, Planz Consultants, said the building design had been careful to reinforce the corner of the Bay Hill and Sefton St, as recommended by the city’s urban development plan. “Overall, from an urban design perspective, the proposal constitutes an attractive addition to Timaru’s urban fabric, with appropriately detailed and proportioned buildings set around a new publicly accessible space that integrate with and emphasises the existing piazza and views out over Caroline Bay.”
Planz said the development would give Timaru high quality hotel accommodation close to the town centre, as well as residential apartment and high-grade office options.