Nine-storey Hobart hotel wins approval – again

179 Macquarie St, Hobart is currently The Macquarie Centre and houses a rug and tile shop.

Hobart City Council planners have recommended a nine-storey hotel on Macquarie St gets the tick of approval — again. 

Plans for the $30 million development on the site of a rug and tile centre in Hobart’s CBD have been resurrected after the new Hobart Interim Planning Scheme came into force changing height restrictions.

A development application by Ressen Property Group — based in Sydney — to build a 225-room hotel on the site of the former Myer homewares store in Macquarie St — was approved by the Hobart City Council in August 2015, but was later overturned by the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal after an appeal from nearby businesses.

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The new application is for a nine-storey, 202-room hotel, ground floor cafe/restaurant, conference facilities and below-ground car park.

An open outdoor plaza is proposed along the south west corner of the site.

The proposal includes a stepped design with a low-rise podium section between 14-16m high at various points with the taller main part of the building standing just under 30m.

These hotels take a long time to get approved, they take a long time to get built, and we just need to know there’s a bit of a pipeline

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin says Hobart is in need of new hotels to improve capacity, particularly at the higher end of the market.

He says this particular project has been “on the drawing board” for a long time, and it is good the proponents are persisting.

“We just need a steady stream,” Martin says. “These hotels take a long time to get approved, they take a long time to get built, and we just need to know there’s a bit of a pipeline.

“As the industry continues to grow we’re going to have to see that kind of investment flowing continuously.”

The 2015 approval was appealed on height and plot ratio grounds by Sunset Rock Investments Pty Ltd and JK Tasmania-Hobart Pty Ltd, which owns the neighbouring old Hutchins school building.

JK Tasmania-Hobart also shares directors with Fragrance Tas-Hobart Pty Ltd, developer of the Ibis Styles Hobart directly next door.

The previous planning scheme permitted buildings up to 12m high in that part of the city, but the Hobart Interim Planning Scheme 2015 permits a height of up to 30m in the central business core area.

Nine parties objected to the new proposal, but council officers found it satisfied the relevant planning requirements.

Aldermen will consider the proposal in detail at a City Planning Committee meeting tomorrow.

This article from The Mercury first appeared as “Hotel proposal for 179 Macquarie St goes back to Hobart City Council”.