Global Premium Hotels is proposing to convert the Alfred Harrap & Son warehouse on Tamar Street into an expansive space for restaurants and conference centres with a five star hotel constructed alongside and above at 11 storeys in height.
The approximately $80 million development also involves the addition of a boutique hotel between the old Clarion Hotel and the warehouse, an internal road between William and Cimitiere streets beneath the hotel for access, and significant works within the existing Clarion to upgrade bathrooms and other facilities.
The main section of the hotel will sit above the internal road and warehouse, set back 20 metres from the front boundary of Cimitiere Street.
The plans - with 59 hotel rooms in the boutique hotel, including the existing Clarion, and 230 in the warehouse hotel - are expected to be advertised to the public with the City of Launceston in the coming days.
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Singaporean hotel developer GP Hotels and architects Laurie Scanlan and Associates have been in discussions with the council for nine months, and this is the second set of plans submitted after the initial plans raised height concerns.
Principal architect Laurie Scanlan said the hotel had a required density for rooms to retain its five-star rating, so plans had to be adjusted to make full use of the site.
"We've gone through this process with the council and the building became a bit longer as a result - that allowed us to maintain the density for five stars," he said.
"The final outcome is fantastic in all cases. It brings a much better sense of fabric and texture to the entire design. We like working with heritage buildings, we like re-imagining them and inserting contemporary elements.
"It's also setback 20 metres from the front boundary, so when walking past the presence will be diminished."
The hotel will be built under GP Hotels' Fragrance brand.
Plans to draw on existing warehouse, hotel
The bottom floor of the old warehouse at the corner of Tamar and Cimitiere streets - which currently contains car parking - is proposed to include bars and restaurants, while the first floor will have two large conference centres.
The facade of both the warehouse and the old Clarion Hotel will be retained, with the only external works occurring at the rear of the old hotel.
Mr Scanlan said 90 per cent of the internal walls and structure of the Clarion would be retained, and the construction at the rear would replace segments that were not original and had been "extensively" changed over the years.
The old billiard room, including its renowned lantern roof, was proposed to become a master suite hotel room.
The stables at the rear of the Clarion will continue to be used for hotel rooms, but will also be extensively upgraded.
Mr Scanlan said GP Hotels was keen to see quick progress.
"They want to get this started as quickly as possible. If we could start in less than six months, we would," he said.
"But from a development application approval point, there's still a huge amount of work to be done."
The next step in a drawn-out process
GP Hotels purchased the Clarion Hotel site for $7.2 million in November, 2016, and has been eager to get plans before the City of Launceston.
The company was believed to be investigating constructing a 25-storey, 70-metre hotel, but those plans did not reach the development application stage.
The council has since changed its building heights policy, and the hotel sits below the 24-metre threshold for them to be considered under a new "performance criteria".
GP Hotels revisited the idea and reopened dialogue with the council in late-2018.
The council is also contending with an appeal against its decision to approve JAC Group's 39-metre Gorge Hotel proposed for Margaret Street.