It's been billed as a Māori-centric hotel that will be "unlike anything else in the world." The iwi-backed project will also feature a commercial centre and those behind the project say more than 100 workers will be needed to build it. City and business leaders have welcomed the plans saying it illustrates growing investor confidence in the area.
An $80 million commercial centre and Māori-centric hotel is planned for Rotorua's CBD.
Rotomā No.1 Incorporation has announced plans for the multimillion-dollar ''wood-first'' Māori commercial centre and a neighbouring 174 room hotel.
It is expected to create up to 120 jobs.
The proposed buildings will be built on the organisation's long-held site at Arawa St in central Rotorua, better known by locals as "the Palace".
Chief executive Neville King said Rotomā No.1 Incorporation was excited to unveil the plan.
The incorporation's committee felt much of the city's CBD was starting to look "old and tired".
Its intention was to make an architectural statement that would "lift the CBD" and push other developers to raise the quality of construction and architecture on their sites too, he said.
"We are not the only ones with an aspirational vision for Rotorua and we're not the only ones wanting to invest to make a difference," he said.
"There is the Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa being developed by Pukeroa Oruawhata on the lake's edge and the adjacent five-star Pullman Hotel being developed by the Chow Brothers, both of which support the aspirations expressed by council in their successful bids to the Provincial Growth Fund."
Speaking on behalf of the Incorporation Committee, chairman Nelson Meha said that Rotorua's recent Provincial Growth fund bids were integral to the organisation's planning.
"Council said that they wanted their investment and central government's PGF investment to be matched by Māori and private funds, and they spoke of a desire for Māori to realise our aspirations in all aspects of the economy," he said.
"At Rotomā No.1, we see these buildings as our way of contributing to the kaupapa, and more importantly, we want this investment to create skilled jobs for our community, particularly our rangatahi," Meha said.
They were confident the hotel would fill a real need in the market and that its four-star plus rating would help Rotorua attract high-value tourists.
"National and international tourism advisors have said that the timing is right because tourists are looking for authentic experiences, which is why this project is so exciting.''
"Not only will tourists get to experience the best of local Māori hospitality, but the food and beverages will reflect our traditions and the rooms will be inspired by our heritage, motif and whakairo. It will be a hotel unlike anything else in the world."
To launch the plans, the Incorporation Committee hosted an event for invited guests at its office headquarters on Monday night where the concept was warmly received.
"We were heartened by the response and we're looking forward to hearing what the wider public has to say over the forthcoming weeks," said King.
Mayor Steve Chadwick said it was wonderful news and the developments would ''breathe some new life into the inner city''.
''We have always said the CBD is not only about retail, now it's a mixed-use space and looking at hotels and apartment living all fits in with the future vision for the city. It is amazing.''
Subject to consent, it is anticipated construction will begin in 2021 with the buildings to be open in late 2022.
Read more: 26 new Rotorua homes consented in 2018 but many more needed
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said it was the sort of development the chamber had been advocating for some time.
"I'm absolutely delighted. It clearly shows the confidence the developer has in Rotorua and it's a great example for other developers to follow, "he said.
Heard said he was thrilled that the developer was incorporating Rotorua's Māori culture into the development and employing 120 locals to build it.
"It's wonderful, we couldn't have asked for more," he said.
Rotorua Economic Development chief executive Michelle Templer said it was great to see another strong iwi-led development in Rotorua announced to go alongside the Lakefront and neighbouring projects already under way or about to get under way.
''These developments will be assets for the people who live and work here and demonstrate real confidence in investing in the future of this destination."
What is Rotomā No. 1?
* Established in 1908 by the Māori Land Court, Rotomā No. 1 Incorporation represents more than 1800 shareholders and is overseen by an elected Committee of Management.
* The committee manages a diversified portfolio including 147 leased lakefront residential sections, forestry investments, commercial buildings in Rotorua and Waikato, diversified fund income, and co-investments with iwi groups in kiwifruit and geothermal power.
* The Incorporation distributes funds in line with its strategic plan, with a core focus on education, welfare, marae activity, and land protection and enhancement.