Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has officially unveiled its long-rumoured on-site hotel project, with formal paperwork for an estimated $400 million development lodged this week with Glenorchy Council.
In typical quirky MONA style, the working title for the project is ‘Motown’ – different to the original planned name of ‘HoMo’ which was ditched with apologies by MONA owner David Walsh following public rebuttal as being potentially offensive.
Designed collectively by Walsh along with the architectural expertise of Nonda Katsalidis, the planned suspension bridge design – panned in some circles as resembling a shopping trolley – has been accepted as something of a hybrid between the two.
Plans call for a five-star, 176-room visual masterpiece offering guests views of nearby Mt Wellington or the Derwent River. Public facilities in the works include an outdoor concert stage, indoor theatre seating 1,075 people, day spa facility, conference rooms and an auditorium for smaller parties seeking a plenary format.
Dining options will consist of a 180-seat public restaurant and 50-seat bar. A dedicated art centre featuring a variety of newly commissioned and sourced pieces will be housed within the hotel, along with some special “experience rooms” which hint at an interactive art experience for guests. In addition, an underground carpark, upgraded jetty and outdoor playgrounds for kids also feature in the design.
Motown will be a cantilevered design, partially suspended over the Derwent, with the longest point from land to the furthest point over water being 53 metres.
MONA has also unveiled plans for a Venice-style access plan where guests will reach the hotel from the water on specially designed “motoscafi” ferries operated by Navigators, the operators of the existing ferry service between Hobart and the Museum. Eventually, MONA says there will be conventional road access as well as an additional ferry.
Walsh says the hotel is currently earmarked to open in 2024 “if we’re lucky”.