Silo hotel may cost extra $2m

ENTREPRENEUR Errol Stewart could own the land to build his silo hotel on within three months, but may have to spend significantly more than originally thought to build it.

Mr Stewart said yesterday the $10 million budget may have to increase to $12 million to convert the former Kings Wharf grain silos in Launceston to a 64-room hotel.

However, he said he was still happy with progress on his plan.

Launceston City Council compulsorily acquired the land from Roberts Ltd in 2008 as part of its flood levee project and this month voted to sell it, following approaches by Mr Stewart.

He wants to buy 6500 square metres of the land with the silos for his project.

Legally, the council must first offer the land back to Roberts. The company has a statutory period to buy the land back and if this is not taken up, the council is expected to seek expressions of interest in the land.

Mr Stewart said it was likely those expressions would be called in the next two months and the process could be finished within three months.

Other groups may bid for the land, but if he was successful he would buy the land and apply for a rezoning.

He said he had done a lot more work on the design since floating the plan last month, but said it was not finalised.

He said the $10 million cost estimate may have to be ‘‘stretched’’ to build the bars, restaurants, conference area, car parking and flood retaining wall needed to make the project work.

And he said the project would need to be finished and open by November next year to catch the summer accommodation surge to be viable, meaning building would need to start this year.

Mr Stewart has recently joined the board of the Property Council of Australia in Tasmania.

He said the property council was pushing for a review of local government in the state because it believed big efficiencies were possible.

He said those efficiencies may come from council amalgamations but the important thing was to have a wide-ranging inquiry.

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