Lawmakers have approved a change in planning rules that will allow for a hotel of up to seven stories to be built along the northern George Town waterfront.
Initially, the boutique “wellness” hotel, which sought planning permission to be built along North Church Street at the site of the old Treehouse restaurant south of the Dixie cemetery across from Kirk Market, was to be five stories high.
However, on June 29, lawmakers agreed to amend the Development and Planning Law and regulations to allow a taller structure to be built in the area.
“It is the intention of this amendment to create a small height adjustment to this area which will allow a seven story limit to exist against the surrounding five-story context,” said Minister Joey Hew, introducing the planning amendments to the House.
Mr. Hew said there was previously no way the Central Planning Authority could authorize commercial buildings higher than five stories without authorization from lawmakers.
The changes were approved without comment by the Legislative Assembly.
Minister Hew said the planning change allows the Central Planning Authority to accept applications for commerical buildings to go above five stories in the area where the hotel is being built.
The development plans for the five-story “wellness” hotel were submitted to the Central Planning Authority a year ago. The NCB Group, which is developing the project, hopes to open the facility sometime in 2019.
According to the initial hotel plan, a total of 60 units located there will be sold individually. Owners will get two weeks’ stay each year and a share of the proceeds from renting the units to tourists.
The project is believed to be the first major hotel planned in central George Town for decades. However, it will not be the only hotel project under development in the vicinity.
The Howard Hospitality Group revealed earlier this year that the Hyatt hotel chain has signed a franchise agreement to operate another new hotel being constructed at Pageant Beach – just north of the NCB development site.
According to a press release from HHG, the 10-story resort and residences will have 351 guest rooms, studio suites, and multi-room units.
It is planned to include six cafes and restaurants, a spa and fitness center, three swimming pools, shops and a private screening room.