The Invercargill Licensing Trust board is pushing ahead with plans for the new $40 million hotel in Invercargill, following on from the public announcement last week.
ILT general manager Greg Mulvey said the settlement date for the property at 11 Don St was due on Friday, which would give the ILT the ownership of the whole proposed building site.
With the settlement process complete, the board would now be in a position to commence planning for the lodging of a demolition resource consent for the three buildings at the site (on the corner of Dee and Don St).
“The major thing is we need to move quickly on some of the work streams that could potentially hold us up.
“[The demolition resource consent] can be quite a onerous process.”
While the basic plans for the size and scope of the hotel have been announced, what the building will actually look like is still unknown.
ILT board chairman Alan Dennis said the most important thing now was to sort out plans for the hotel’s design and services related to it.
“What we’ll be doing first is talking to architects and people involved in construction – at this stage we need to get input from the professionals.”
Dennis said they would be looking to the public for input on aspects of the hotel’s design and function, once the foundational plans had been established.
“We don’t want to put the cart before the horse.
“The main purpose of the new hotel is to cater to potential clients, so that will be the first sounding board.
“At the right time, we’ll go out into the public arena in a professional way to get feedback on ideas – another big issue will be the naming of the hotel itself.
“It may be a wee way yet, but an important part of the process will be to ascertain what the public wants.”
Dennis also said the board would not be looking into having the hotel managed as part of a larger franchise.
“Shared ownership isn’t a thing we’d look at doing.
“With shared ownership there’s shared profits, some of which wouldn’t then be going back into the community.”
At the ILT board meeting on April 27, general manager Greg Mulvey also discussed the state of the trust’s finances.
Mulvey said he was pleased with the sales for the 2016 financial year.
“We’re not doing handstands or anything like that, but we’re reasonably satisfied.”
Mulvey said for the 52 weeks from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017, sales were up by $8.3 million, or 10.6 per cent.
While bar and bottle store sales had modest increases, other business operations recorded higher sales.
Bar sales increased by 2.9 per cent, while retail bottle stores accounted for 0.9 per cent.
Mulvey said he low retail sales were something of an anomaly, with poor weather over the peak sales period reflecting a nationwide trend.
Accommodation sales were up by 3.4 per cent, with food sales making an increase of 6.5 per cent.
However, Mulvey said the majority of the sales increase was due to the expansion of trade in 2016 from the Centrepoint distribution business into the Central Otago area.
For the month of March, sales were up by $479,000 (up 7.6 per cent from last year), although most of this was due to the Centrepoint distribution sales.
Excluding those figures, the remaining sales added up to a 1.6 per cent increase.