A 200-room hotel, conference and training centre for the Miramar Wharf is the kind of project to lead Wellington into a new round of creative leadership that will propel the city out of the recession.
The concept - developed by Wellington businessman Tony Williams and architects Jerram Tocker Barron - combines visionary architecture on the water's edge with a total immersion training concept targeted at international executives.
John Tocker says the hotel's modernistic toroid shape meets Wellington's need for a sizeable international quality hotel close to the airport and the Miramar Wharf's location and waterfront position make it ideal.
The hotel development is backed by mayoral contender Jack Yan who sees it as a potential spearhead for the next round of the Absolutely Positively Wellington spirit which had its birth in the early 1990s but which has since run out of steam.
"Back then, Wellington was in the doldrums with government cutbacks, and a generally soggy economy. But the creative spirit that saw Courtenay Place bloom, and the courage to invest in projects such as the Westpac Stadium and the film industry, saw Wellington bound ahead of the rest of the country in so many ways," Jack says.
"Now with the film industry maturing, we need a new impetus. Unlike Auckland, we've shown that we've got the courage and the vision to do these things ourselves, and without central government intervention. This proposal is a sign of what it will take to ensure Wellington's potential as a creative, world-class city gains the kind of substance it has been sorely lacking."
Tony Williams says the hotel/leadership centre concept grew from his leadership business ThinkTankz and the potential for "total immersion" leadership training that had creativity at its core.
"From my work in Japan and the Asia Pacific, I know there's a real hunger for executive leadership training that wrenches people out of the beige, benign and boring and puts them into an environment that challenges them to approach problem solving and leadership in totally new ways," he says.
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