THE old Invermay grain silos will be brought alive if Launceston entrepreneur Errol Stewart gets his way.
Mr Stewart has proposed an 11-storey hotel in the silos that sit opposite his signature Seaport development.
The challenging project on the ``wet'' side of the Launceston flood levees would feature 64-hotel rooms and a top deck restaurant, bar and conference space for up to 200 people.
Mr Stewart has budgeted an initial $10 million for the hotel component with the more expensive elements of the development - the top and bottom - yet to be fully costed.
Mr Stewart plans on ``entombing'' the bottom floor with a 150-metre oval-shaped wall to protect the hotel - to be named The Silos - from flooding.
Level 1 will include reception, a bistro, restaurants, a bar and relaxation space with the hotel entrance to be on Lindsay Street.
His proposal follows last year's idea for a $40 million Vision Tower for Royal Park and the subsequent search for a new site.
And Mr Stewart said there was still plenty of work needed to get his hotel towers off the ground.
Yesterday he wrote to the Launceston City Council, after individually consulting aldermen, seeking to buy the silos and 6000 square metres of surrounding land.
``This in no ways suggests it is across the line. Ultimately I have to gain the community support as this is who the council represent. The response, however, from the aldermen was certainly encouraging,'' he said.
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the idea was exciting and a boost to confidence in the region.
If Mr Stewart gets the land it will require rezoning and Tasmanian Planning Commission approval, which he said would come if there is broad community support for the hotel towers.
Mr Stewart became convinced of Launceston's need for an iconic building after visits to interstate and international cities.
``Whilst not without risk, the silos do offer a unique chance to give Launceston a great asset that most people will be proud to take ownership,'' he said.
``The vista from the top level of the silos looking south to Royal Park, the Seaport, the city, and the entrance to Cataract Gorge is breathtaking.''
The conversion of the Gunns' timber mill site in to a commercial precinct featuring Bunnings has made the hotel towers a possibility and means ``the silos now offer a challenging prospect for a great development''.
Mr Stewart, who would like to see The Silos connected to Seaport, believes it would take six months to get the necessary approvals and another year to complete the building with local builders and materials from Tasmania where possible.
Engineers involved in the redevelopment of silos at Salamanca have been consulted and determined it was structurally feasible, he said.
``It is now 10 years since we completed the Seaport, which gave a city a destination not previously enjoyed by the majority. I believe the silo development, should we be successful in gaining approval, will be a further catalyst to improving the economic wellbeing of the city and another destination which belongs to Launceston,'' he said.