A four-star plus 130-room hotel and an entertainment centre in Whangārei would improve the district's chances of bidding for major events and earning top dollars, mayor Sheryl Mai says.
The Hundertwasser Art Centre (HAC) has inspired greater investor interest and confidence, Mai said, and she welcomed the construction of a major hotel that would enable people to enjoy top hospitality.
Her comments followed plans by a group of local investors with backgrounds in land development, construction and real estate, for a hotel and entertainment centre worth upwards of $100 million.
It's believed the hotel, expected to be built in time for the opening of the Hundertwasser Centre, will be situated as close to the Town Basin as possible.
Those behind the project briefed Whangārei District councillors about the plan on Thursday.
Mai said attracting large numbers of visitors and guests to the Hundertwasser Centre, plus conferences and other major events, would require her council to adapt its roads, wastewater systems and other facilities.
But as a district that was considered a growth area that has always been part of the council's long-term planning, she said.
"I expect a 4-star plus hotel, plus major event funding council recently allocated through the Long Term Plan, will improve our chances of success when bidding for major events,'' Mai said.
"We already know events such as the Lions tour brings around $5m into our district each time they are held here.
"A hotel that enables people to enjoy a top rate hospitality experience, visit HAC, walk the loop, admire our Quarry Gardens and Te Matau a Pohe, visit the Camera Obscura, Ball Clock and Hihiaua Cultural Centre (once built), to enjoy the inner city experience and to base themselves here when venturing further into Northland will be very welcome," she said.
Northland Inc chief executive David Wilson echoed similar sentiments, saying Whangārei was a city on the up and Northland one of the country's fastest growing regions.
He said the HAC with Wairau Māori Art Gallery and stage one of the Hihiaua Cultural Centre, and the soon-to-start Manea Footprints of Kupe Cultural Heritage and Education Centre in Opononi, sat within the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan.
Overtime, he said they would bring millions of extra dollars in revenue into the region, while providing even more reasons for domestic and international visitors to visit Northland.
"Northland is going to become busier as visitor numbers rise, so being prepared is critical.
As Northland's only city, Whangārei needs to be able to provide enough accommodation options to suit a range of budgets,'' he said.
Wilson said the new hotel's central location would put it close to the Whangārei CBD and all amenities, and to the sites of the HAC and Hihiaua Cultural Centre.