Councillors unaware of hotel bid

Politicians say they didn’t know about an offer to build a hotel on the Devonport carpark site. Photo: Google maps.

When Buddy Mikaere went along to Tauranga City Council to ask what was happening to the hotel bid he and partners are making on the 82-98 Devonport road block, he was shocked to discover many councillors were unaware there is even a bid on the table.

Representing the Otamataha Trust and the Safari Group, Buddy told councillors they made an offer in June 2016 to develop the block with an 80 bed boutique hotel, 40-55 residential apartments, car parking and possible retail, with public space and access to the Strand extension.

They have heard nothing back from council.

“We understood council were undertaking a commercial valuation of the site, but we have heard nothing back from this,” says Buddy.

“From where we are sitting, it looks like what actually is needed is for the council to make a decision whether that sale is going to go ahead and if so, to take it to market.”

The Otamataha Trust is partnered with the developer Safari Group which is behind the Wyndham brand in New Zealand, and also the Ramada and Quest brands.

Speaking afterwards, Buddy says he's shocked and amazed that councillors have not been made aware of the offer.

 “I can't believe it.  We have been dealing with the responsible staff for over a year, and it hasn't gone past them to the council.

“You can describe me as being disappointed.”

Buddy completed his address at the council meeting's open forum saying the Safari Group also made an offer for the council property in Durham Street.

“And I think they are just getting to the point where they think they are wasting their time in Tauranga,' says Buddy.

The Devonport development would be worth anywhere from $80-$150 million, depending on the final outcome, whether there is an agreement with council over public space, how much retail would be involved.

Mayor Greg Brownless says he, and maybe the new councillors, were unaware of the bid.

“It's probably taken us a bit by surprise, and on that basis we will have to look into it further,” says Greg.

Gail McIntosh says she was on the working group working with the previous consortium interested in the site and had never heard of the Otamatata/Safari proposal.

It was a shock to all of them, says Councillor Leanne Brown.

The offer made June 2016 was looking for a negotiated rate with development contributions discounted for ten years and rates deferred for five years.

The price would be negotiated to enable the open space to be built by the developer, but later vested with the council.

Safari was ready to go last year when the offer was made, says Buddy. The group's current commitments in New Zealand amount to $220m worth – all sourced within the Safari Group.

The Albany development has just been completed so construction in Tauranga could start in a fairly short time.



Posted on 20-04-2017 12:55 | By Roadkill

Like the story reads like that is something new or special somehow? In fact the only real drama about this is the fact that they have become aware of it just 9 months later. That is a real slip up there usually they remain completely in the dark 24/7, that is be design and plan from within.


Posted on 20-04-2017 09:14 | By nerak

for Commissioner, and audit. I've said it before, how long is it going to take? Six months down the track and we are bereft of any guidance from the Mayor and many Councillors. If the Mayor is not prepared to step up to the job, resignation is the way out, before embarrassment of being in the chair when a Commissioner steps in. Tauranga deserves much better than you are offering Greg Brownless, and much, much better from Garry Poole - ratepayers should be demanding his head on a plate. Wellington did not renew Poole's contract, Tauranga needs to follow. A once great city to live in is fast degenerating in to a place no one wants to live. What's going to be left, a few overpaid wannabes?


Posted on 19-04-2017 21:19 | By waiknot

This is prime example of something that doesn't fit the predetermined agenda not seeing the light of day. Apparently the councillor only have one employee, and that's the The Town Clark, sorry CEO. Time to let him no who's boss, and put him on notice.


Posted on 19-04-2017 19:10 | By Accountable

As I understand it the Council or was that the staff gave the Bowker/ Devonport Towers business They turned down the first oportunity but were given the first right of refusal if there was another interested party.This has been well documented in past press articles.


Posted on 19-04-2017 19:03 | By Dazed and Confused

Someone or more gets the sack for this It must be illegal to sit on this type of offer and not pass it on Surly???

Time for governance

Posted on 19-04-2017 18:50 | By purchesg

Buddy is right. No wonder investors think they are wasting their time in Tauranga, a lot of residents are feeling the same way.I told you months ago who was running the place Mayor Brownless, a view I formed following greater attendances at Council meetings and closer scrutiny of the LTP and other publicly available information than any other mayoral candidate - Including three last minute runners, you Mayor Brownless, and Baldock, and Morris, who was already on Council, but didn't have a clue anyway and simply trotted out furfies. Over 61 percent of voters didn't vote, but those who did deserve better from those that they elected.You have had six months elected guys and girls - time to shape up and do your jobs, or if it is all too tough for you, call in Commissioners.The time is well overdue for progress and transparency.

here we go again

Posted on 19-04-2017 18:40 | By old trucker

Golly gosh, what a lot of RUBBISH, i cannot believe NOBODY NEW this,it just goes to show that there is not ONE BRAIN between TCC so called councillors, too busy at meetings and carrying around their little clipboards looking important,makes ya sick, it appears Gail new,you mean only one,for goodness sake. what can you expect from so called NO IT ALLs,my thoughts only, Thankyou Sunlive, 10-4 out.

If I was one of the TCC councillors,

Posted on 19-04-2017 17:44 | By SML

I'd be asking serious questions of the paid Council staff involved! They are "staff" after all, not the arbiters of who-gets-what and who-knows-what-sensitive info! The planned development/s (there are 2) should have been part of discussions on recent CBD planning, surely! The staff involved in this [further] fiasco need a serious shakeup!

@ Steve

Posted on 19-04-2017 16:55 | By Roadkill

You assume that the capacity of Councillors is there to be able to lift the game to be on to it, it isn't.


Posted on 19-04-2017 16:43 | By Steves

I was shocked to read this article, but then remembered that this is the Tauranga City Council, they seem to hibinate between election years.Come on Council pull your fingers out and get your A into G.


Posted on 19-04-2017 16:23 | By Roadkill

Long since left the "lost and Found" department at TCC, clearly Councillors only get told something on a need to know basis. Some thing change little except to get worse that last year and the year before ...

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