Stewart doubles silos plan

ERROL Stewart's proposed The Silos hotel has expanded to 140 rooms which will assist Launceston's pursuit of a greater stake in the state's lucrative conference tourism market.

Mr Stewart said a new rectangular building would be built on the Lindsay Street side of the silos structure, expected to be as high as the silos.

This new development has pushed the value of the development up from $11 million to $20 million.

Mr Stewart said the project had to be redesigned after geotechnical engineers informed him that a much smaller new building attachment in the original plan would drop perhaps 30 millimetres over 10 years.

This would drag down the silos structure, which had already settled into the earth.

``So that has prompted a change in our thinking,'' Mr Stewart said.

He said doubling the rooms within the development made the project more viable.

``It's a bigger investment, but to me and my finance partners, it makes more sense economically,'' Mr Stewart said.

He said the two buildings would be linked by a flexible joint which will allow for movement in the new building without impacting the silos.

He said the link would act as a bridge.

The development now consists of eight rooms on each floor of both the new building and the silos from levels two to nine.

Level 10 of the hotel will consist of four one-bedroom apartment suites in each of the two buildings, including suites named after former premiers Jim Bacon and Eric Reece.

The top floor of the silos will house two penthouses.

A bar and bistro, cafe, and reception area will be contained within silo barrels on the hotel's first floor, and a gym and meeting space within the structure on the ground floor.

The hotel's conference space has been expanded within the new building and can be separated into three rooms or maintained as one large room.

The silos conference facilities is expected to add to inner city venues at Hotel Grand Chancellor, Peppers, and to proposed facilities at a redeveloped Penny Royal.

Boags Brewery, owned by beverage giant Lions, is expected to develop the Tullochs Auction House site into a conference centre too.

The Launceston City Council with the Launceston Chamber of Commerce want to develop a long-term strategy to progressively build the convention market in the city.

Tasmania earned $30.7 million from 20,453 delegates in 2011-12, and of this, Launceston only harnessed $3.1 million from 2485 delegates.

Launceston's conference market 15 years ago was worth $15 million.

Mr Stewart believes that The Silos will be opened before Christmas in 2015.

The project is being built on riverside land that needs dispensation approval from the Tasmanian Planning Commission and rezoning approval by the Launceston City Council.

Mr Stewart said he would be able to lodge a development application once the dispensation and rezoning processes had been completed.

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