ILT hotel plans revealed

The corner of Dee and Don St, where the Invercargill Licensing Trust plans to build a new hotel. Photo: Petrina Wright

AFTER years of speculation, the Invercargill Licensing Trust (ILT) has formally confirmed its plan to build a new hotel in Invercargill.

“This is a hugely important day in the history of the ILT… it’s fantastic to finally say we’re doing it,” ILT general manager Greg Mulvey said.

The 120-room, possibly six or seven-storey, hotel complex will span 3000sqm from its carpark on 11 Don St, the site of the former Invercargill Public Library, to Barluca on Dee St.

The trust had investigated the viability of several CBD sites, including the former Southland Times building on Esk St purchased last year. But the site chosen was determined to be the optimal location because of the capacity to future-proof the site, internal access carparking and vehicular egress, Mr Mulvey said.

ILT board chairman Alan Dennis said the chosen site was undoubtedly the best option, particularly given the synergy to other proposed developments for the CBD.

“Location, location, location – this will have a real visual impact when people come into the city,” Mr Dennis said.

Mr Mulvey said the site was already owned by the trust and the recent purchase of 11 Don St had completed the property acquisition required.

ILT board members (from left) Sean Bellew, Suzanne Prentice, general manager Greg Mulvey, chairman Alan Dennis and Angela Newell announced plans for a new hotel in Invercargill at a press conference at The Kiln yesterday.  Photo: Sanda Jukic

The board had approved a budget of up to $40 million for stage one of the build sourced from its financial reserves.

He was reluctant to commit to confirming the hotel’s intended star rating but said it would have the “wow factor”.

To be profitable, it was intended the hotel would attract a broad range of guests, including the tourist and commercial markets, he said.

The design would influence the final costing but ultimately the hotel would be an asset the city could be proud of and one which would help Invercargill continue to grow as a destination, he said.

Mr Dennis said the multi-million-dollar investment reflected the trust’s faith in the city’s future.

“The time is now right and it’s our belief this will act as a catalyst for further inner city developments and rejuvenation.”

Construction of the hotel would be completed in two stages. The first stage would feature 80 guest rooms, function/conference facilities, restaurant, bar, cafe and carparking. Stage two would include an additional 40 rooms when demand warranted it.

Mr Mulvey said feasibility studies found 80 rooms was the optimal number but the infrastructure would be in place to enable another 40 rooms to be added if required to future-proof the facility.

The trust has been considering building a new hotel in the city for more than five years.

Graphic showing the location for the Invercargill Licensing Trust’s new hotel. Photo: Supplied

“But it had to make commercial sense to do it. Up until now we couldn’t justify it,” Mr Mulvey said.

“We had to be economically responsible because we have another role to maintain our financial contributions to the community in years to come… but we have faith we will continue to benefit from the spillover experienced during the past year from Central Otago and that has given us the courage to do this.”

Mr Dennis said the ILT would continue to reinvest in its other facilities and maintain its annual level of grant funding.

Obtaining demolition consent from the Invercargill City Council was the next step.

Once consents had been granted, the physical build was expected to take about 18 to 24 months to complete.

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