A shimmering glass tower has been revealed as the new look for Dunedin's proposed five-star Filleul St hotel.
Images of the revised design, by award-winning Christchurch-based architect Thom Craig, of Thom Craig Architects Ltd, were released to the Otago Daily Times yesterday.
Craig was brought in to redesign the project in November last year after earlier concept plans for the building were criticised after being made public.
Craig's firm has since carried out a substantial redesign, although it is understood the project's key details - including its height, room numbers and cost - remain largely unchanged.
The ODT has previously reported the building would be up to 18 storeys, including 15 above ground, and have space for 200 bedrooms, apartments, office space, restaurants and a bar, at a cost of up to $75 million.
The developer, Tekapo-based Anthony Tosswill, was not in a position to comment yesterday, but, in an email last week, confirmed an application for resource consent would be filed within weeks.
He hoped the new design would be well-received, as "an immense amount of research and effort has gone into it".
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, contacted yesterday, said he was pleased progress was being made and was "pretty impressed" by the new look.
"Aesthetically, it [is] a step up."
The changes would also ensure more rooms enjoyed a five-star view of the city, as well as making the building more accessible for residents, he said.
"I think what the developer appreciates is the need for the Dunedin community to feel like the hotel is accessible; that it will have uses for the local community as well as for visitors," Cull said.
The hotel, if confirmed, would be built opposite the Dunedin Town Hall, and the site's zoning and 10m height limit meant a resource consent would be required.
That could open the door to a potentially protracted public hearing, but Cull said the developer appeared to be listening to earlier public feedback.
The revised design acknowledged its heritage surroundings, without trying to "mimic" them, which would be "false", he said. The Dunedin City Council signed a memorandum of understanding with Tosswill's company, NZ Horizon Hospitality Group Pty Ltd, last October.
The deal gave Tosswill the exclusive first right to buy and build on the council-owned Filleul St car park, once the results of geotechnical investigations at the site were known.
The company was originally given three months to make a decision, but an extension had since been granted, push-ing the deadline to March, it was confirmed yesterday.
Council city property manager Kevin Taylor said the results of the geotechnical work were in, and had been given to Tosswill.
The findings included the need for "reasonably deep" piles, of about 10m, in the Filleul St corner of the site, he said.
"That's now with [Tosswill's] design engineers to evaluate what it means for what they're proposing to do," he said.
Tosswill said more project details would be released when the resource consent application was filed with the council "on or before" February 5.