Archive | Hospitality

Augusta buys Queenstown site for second tourism fund hotel

Augusta Capital Ltd announced last Monday it had entered into an unconditional agreement to acquire land in the Queenstown cbd for a 5-star hotel development, and on Friday it confirmed settlement.

The site is at 17-19 Man St, en route to the Queenstown gondola. Augusta intends to transfer it to its proposed tourism fund. In the meantime, managing director Mark Francis said the company would continue to progress discussions with potential hotel operators.

“Locations for a hotel development in Queenstown do not come much better than this site,” he said. “The location is central Queenstown, within walking distance of all the key sights & activities in the Queenstown cbd, while sitting in an elevated position which provides premium, uninterrupted views out to the Remarkables.”

He said the vendor had obtained resource consent to undertake the proposed hotel development, which has been progressed to a level of detailed design. “Initial discussions have also been held with potential contractors regarding construction of the hotel, but a construction contract will not be let until a hotel operator is secured. It is expected that construction should commence by the middle of 2019.”

The total consideration payable under the agreement was $13.95 million for the land as well as the designs, intellectual property & site works undertaken to date.

The planned tourism fund already has one asset lined up – 54 Cook St, on the fringe of the Auckland cbd, which is being converted from office to a pod hotel for Jucy Snooze Ltd. The shareholders of Augusta Value Add Fund No 1 Ltd approved the sale of the building to the Augusta Capital group in September, awaiting transfer to the tourism fund.

Earlier stories:
23 October 2018: Fund shareholders approve sale to initiate Augusta tourism fund
24 September 2018: Pod hotel the opportunity for Augusta to close value-add fund with strong return and open tourism fund

Attribution: Company release.

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Mulpha buys Waldorf Stadium hotel

Mulpha Australia Ltd has bought the leasehold 4.5 star Waldorf Stadium Apartment Hotel at Quay Park in Auckland.

Colliers & CBRE declared last Thursday the hotel sale was the biggest in New Zealand since 2015 and biggest in Auckland since 2006 – without saying anything about the price of this transaction.

The 178-unit strata title development was sold subject to a new 11-year performance lease underpinned by Japanese serviced apartment conglomerate Daiwa House Group, which acquired the Australia & New Zealand Waldorf serviced apartment business in 2017 and has plans to expand in the region.

Mulpha chief executive Greg Shaw said: “We were attracted to its position in a key gateway city, strategic location in the heart of the Auckland cbd, together with several strategic opportunities to add additional value to this asset over the short to medium term, working in conjunction with the hotel operator Daiwa House Group.”

The hotel has a mix of studio, one-, 2- & 3-bedroom self-contained apartments. It has a long-term ground lease to the Ngati Whatua o Orakei Maori Trust Board.

Mulpha Australia is a subsidiary of Malaysia-listed Mulpha International Bhd, in turn controlled by Hong Kong company Allied Group Ltd, which also controls listed Hong Kong non-bank financial institution Sun Hung Kai & Co Ltd. Lee Seng Huang, Lee Seng Hui & their sister, Lee Su Hwei – Malaysians educated in Sydney, the children of 1980s corporate raider Lee Ming Tee – operate their family interests through Allied.

The hotel was developed by Perron Developments Ltd.

Earlier story:
9 October 2009: Apartments at centre of Blue Chip case go on market

Attribution: Agency release.

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Pod hotel the opportunity for Augusta to close value-add fund with strong return and open tourism fund

NZX-listed property fund manager Augusta Capital Ltd will achieve 2 aims simultaneously when it leases the building at 54 Cook St, on the fringe of the Auckland cbd, to Jucy Snooze Ltd for a pod hotel.

That transaction, which has several conditional components, will:

  • finalise the sale by Augusta Value Add Fund No 1 Ltd of its 5th & last asset, resulting in closure of the fund & distribution of remaining funds, and
  • enable Augusta Capital subsidiary Augusta Funds Management Ltd to launch a new open-ended tourism fund.

Managing director Mark Francis talked about a tourism fund as one of several openings for new investment when he addressed Augusta’s annual meeting in July, and in the company’s annual report.

But first, the purchase of 54 Cook St will enable the value-add fund to close with an 11.5% pretax internal rate of return to investors after 2½ years, and a return of $900,000-1 million to Augusta Funds Management as a performance fee.

Northington to advise on transaction

The $16.5 million + gst Cook St sale is conditional on the value-add fund’s shareholders approving the transaction by 20 October, as it’s considered a related-party transaction. The fund company has engaged Northington Partners Ltd to provide independent advice on the proposed sale.

The transaction is also conditional on Augusta Funds Management obtaining a satisfactory cost estimate from its quantity surveyor by 26 October. If the sale proceeds, settlement is expected to occur on 31 October.

Augusta established the value-add fund in April 2016 to acquire a portfolio of 5 properties, which were identified as having value-add opportunities through either redevelopment or repositioning. The objective of the fund was to sell the properties after the value-adding improvements had been implemented, and to return the net proceeds from the property sales to investors in the fund.

Augusta has signed a conditional agreement to lease 54 Cook St to Jucy Snooze Ltd for 20 years, with fixed annual increases of 2.0% & market rent review every 10 years, and 2 7-year rights of renewal.

The lease agreement is conditional on resource consent, building consents and the cost estimate for the landlord’s works being no more than $14.5 million.

Jucy chief executive Tim Alpe (right) & his brother, Jucy Group chief operating officer Dan Alpe, sitting in a hotel pod.

Jucy chief executive Tim Alpe said on Thursday the 4-storey 388-bed hotel would be capable of accommodating over 466 visitors/night in a mixture of pod-style accommodation & ensuite rooms, as well as Jucy Group’s head office. The building, which used to house 1ZB’s radio studios, is one block up Nelson St from the southern edge of SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd’s international convention centre.

Mr Francis said Augusta Funds Management intended to initially acquire & hold the asset on its balance sheet and then use it as a seed asset for a new open-ended tourism fund: “The new fund is consistent with Augusta’s core strategy to broaden & diversify our funds management offerings to appeal to a wider range of investors. At this stage, Augusta expects the Tourism Fund’s initial offering to be opened in the first quarter of 2019.”

Earlier stories:
21 September 2018: Jucy to open big pod hotel up street from new convention centre
30 July 2018: Augusta expands its portfolio platform, a different way of managing & seeing property investment

Attribution: Augusta release.

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Jucy to open big pod hotel up street from new convention centre

Jucy Snooze Ltd said yesterday it would open a 386-bed pod hotel in central Auckland by the end of next year. Owners Chris & Tim Alpe also operate the Jucy rental car business.

Image above: Jucy’s pod rooms, already operating in Queenstown & Christchurch.

Chief executive Tim Alpe said the 4-storey hotel on the corner of Cook & Nelson Sts would be capable of accommodating over 466 visitors/night. It would have a mixture of pod-style accommodation & ensuite rooms and, unlike other hotels in the chain, will also be designed for a specific business niche market.

He expected would meet about 4% of the estimated 3000-room shortfall in accommodation in Auckland when it opens.

While the hotel is primarily designed to meet the needs of budget international tourists, Mr Alpe also expects to see a number of conference delegates visiting from overseas, as well as long-term commuters from around New Zealand who may come to the city for work 2 or 3 days/week regularly.

“The main target market for Jucy Snooze Auckland will be millennial budget tourists who may travel by themselves, as a couple or part of a larger group. Typically they make a base in Auckland for a few days before leaving to tour the rest of the country.

“The new pod hotel will have a number of flexible work spaces able to accommodate longer-term business travellers. As part of the accommodation package the pod hotel will provide office facilities to this market.”

The hotel will be a short step from the Skycity International Convention Centre under construction between Hobson & Nelson Sts. Mr Alpe said it would offer a low-cost room alternative for international business travellers attending conferences as well.

Hybrid of accommodation & flexible workspace

The pod hotel for which Jucy is seeking consent at the corner of Cook & Nelson Sts, in the Auckland cbd.

Mr Alpe said the concept of a hybrid between accommodation & flexible working space had started to appear overseas and he believed it would work in New Zealand: “We see potential demand from out-of-town businesses such as startups, who need to come to Auckland regularly but can’t justify the cost of establishing a permanent office here.”

“The new Jucy Snooze Auckland will provide a cost-effective way to do this and, at the same time, offer networking opportunities for guests when they utilise the shared space with other like-minded companies – including the relocated head office of Jucy itself.”

Mr Alpe said the Auckland hotel would have new design elements adapted from learnings in Jucy’s Christchurch & Queenstown hotels: “The Auckland cbd site will feature double pods, more common spaces, as well as our co-working concept which will be called Jucy Share.

“In addition to offering these facilities to our guests, other visitors to the cbd will be able to hire meeting rooms by the hour.”

Mr Alpe said the company was moving towards a “journeys-based approach” strategy across its portfolio, catering more holistically for visitors’ needs as they travel the country.

The new hotel will employ about 30 staff, and also house a retail centre & a Miss Lucy’s pizzeria & bar: “Our retail, food & beverage offerings will be specifically designed to create an environment for our millennial travellers. It may include a barber, tattoo parlour, clothing & other types of stores popular with this demographic.”

Attribution: Company release.

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Analyst & former hotel manager warns of Auckland over-supply risk

Hotel market analyst Wim Ruepert warned this week that over-construction in Auckland threatened to chop operators’ returns, which were already precarious.

The big plus is SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd’s international convention centre, under construction between Hobson & Nelson Sts in the city centre, which is likely to attract events outside the high season.

But Mr Ruepert said the big cloud was the high number of projected hotel starts. If all 41 were completed, they’d add 89% to the city’s room supply.

Wim Ruepert.

Writing in Horwath HTL’s latest Auckland hotel market outlook report, Mr Ruepert said the familiar calls for more hotels & acceleration of projects would follow the also-familiar reports about high room rates & supply shortage.

Against that call to meet peak season demand, “there is a significant risk of a period of strong occupancy decline unless we see a dramatic stimulus in off-season demand or some developers reconsider their planned projects.

“For the 8 months to August, revpar (revenue:available room) for the major Auckland hotels declined by 4% compared to the same period last year.

“Key contributing factors to this downturn were the absence of major events like last year’s British & Irish Lions rugby tour and the opening of more than 600 hotel rooms, increasing supply by about 9% over the period.

“Hotel occupancy rates of 82.6% for this 8-month period may be considered high, but are the lowest since 2014. Based on the number of new hotel projects under construction, announced or being considered, annual hotel occupancy levels could slip much further.”

Horwath HTL has identified 41 hotel projects in various stages that are planned to open over the next 5 years, adding 6500 rooms and increasing major hotel supply by 89%.

12 hotels containing 1800 rooms are under construction, increasing major hotel room supply by 24%.

Construction is expected to start on 3 more projects, adding another 7% to supply, and 26 projects have been announced or are under consideration.

“If we assume that only those projects which have been announced will proceed, supply is expected to increase by ‘only’ 24 hotels, or 3900 rooms over the next 5 years. Such an increase of just over 50% of existing major hotel supply would trouble most hotel investors in any city,” Mr Ruepert said.

However, he expects major banks will scrutinise projects more closely before approving development funding.

To achieve an average annual occupancy of 75%, these new hotels would need to sell close to 1.1 million room nights/year, but MBIE (the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment) has projected an increase in international visitor arrivals to the entire country over the next 5 years of just over 1 million, or 728,000 when excluding those visiting friends & family.

2 answers, Mr Ruepert said, were more off-peak events and targeting emerging markets who travel off-peak. “It will also need to convince existing markets that between May & October, Auckland can compete as a destination with cities in Australia and those in the warmer, northern hemisphere.”

Mr Ruepert joined Horwath HTL in Auckland in 2016 after a number of roles at the Intercontinental Hotel Group in Australia, Japan & New Zealand since 2002, most recently as general manager of the Crowne Plaza in Auckland and the group’s area general manager for New Zealand.

Attribution: Horwath HTL report.

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Millbrook Resort starts work on $50 million addition

Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort has won resource consent for the $50 million development of the neighbouring 67ha Dalgleish Farm into an addition to its golfcourse, interspersed with 42 sections for high-end homes.

Image above: Millbrook’s Ben O’Malley, project manager Stuart Anderson & senior construction manager Darin Paki Paki (both of Signal Management Group) on the new development site.

It’s taken owner Millbrook Holdings (NZ) Ltd 4 years of planning, appeals, hearings & zone changes through the Queenstown Lakes District Council. The company is 90.6% owned by the Ishii family of Tokyo, who have been involved in the resort since its development began in 1987. Individual residential sites are privately owned & freehold.

The multi-award-winning 200ha resort will add 9 golf holes to Millbrook’s 27-hole course, enabling it to operate 2 full 18-hole courses. The resort’s residential limit will remain at 450 homes.

Initial site clearance is underway and work has almost been completed under a separate consent to shift the Arrow irrigation pipe to make way for the development.

Groundworks include a raft of ecological & landscape enhancements, and the first land titles should be issued in late 2020. Once the new golfcourse is constructed & “grown in”, it should be playable by 2021.

Millbrook property & development director Ben O’Malley said the net was cast “far & wide” for project tendering, and the main earthworks contract went to Grant Hood Contracting Ltd, of Ashburton.

Experienced local turf specialist company TIC Projects Ltd (Geoff & Belinda Andrew), which developed the resort’s Coronet 9 course, has been awarded the main golfcourse construction project & a golfcourse irrigation installation contract.

Millbrook is still working through detailed design on works such as roading, reticulated services & the resort’s distinctive schist stone walls.
In the initial earthworks phase, 500,000m of material will be moved within the site. A “zero cut to fill” balance means all work will be carried out with material contained within the farm area, and topsoil stripped & stored before being re-spread once earthworks are complete.

Map: The additional golfcourse will be interspersed with 42 high-end homes.

Irrigation race connection & storage lake among upgrades

Mr O’Malley said Millbrook had been working alongside the Friends of Lake Hayes & the Otago Regional Council to support their initiative to discharge off-peak water from the Arrow River irrigation race to Mill Stream, which runs through Millbrook into Lake Hayes: “They believe this will help enhance the water quality of Lake Hayes and we have the means to provide them the link between the Arrow Irrigation Co Ltd pipe & Mill Stream.”

The regional council is part-way through a plan change process that will see a minimum flow placed on the Arrow River, from which Millbrook currently sources its golf irrigation water via the irrigation company.

The minimum flow process would pose a risk to Millbrook’s golf operations, as its sand-based tees & greens, installed to meet international PGA specifications, require daily watering: ‘”To guard against this risk we’re also constructing a 30 million litre water storage lake on the farm land.”

Mr O’Malley said the new 36-hole format at Millbrook had been described as a game changer for the resort, effectively adding 100% golf capacity with 2 18-hole courses that can be operated simultaneously.

Members’ course will change daily

He said the growing number of Millbrook Country Club members would be able to play an ever-changing private members’ course on a daily basis, with another 18 holes available for tourists & locals.

It’s also good news for the long-term future of the NZ Open, currently hosted at Millbrook in conjunction with Sir Michael Hills’ The Hills golfcourse.

The Open has long planned to move to a 3-course model, similar to international Dunhill Links and AT&T events, and having 2 courses available at Millbrook would enable this goal to be achieved.

The new land also lends itself to the development of 2 discretely & geographically separated residential neighbourhoods.

The large upper plateau contains 24 sites boasting elevated panoramic views over fairways & pastoral lands to the wider basin. The lower slopes are home to a further 18 sites with north-facing outlooks over an enhanced Mill Stream & the last of the new golf holes. Mr O’Malley expected most of the sites to sell for over $1 million each.

Parts of Mill Stream will be widened to create larger waterways & enhanced wetlands. The new development will retain a rural, agrarian style, with over 20ha of working farmland retained for grazing and retention of a historic woolshed.

The original 1860s farmhouse will also stay on the land, with some sympathetic additions.

Link: Millbrook Resort

Attribution: Company releases, website.

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Mipad smart hotel opens in Queenstown

Mipad Holdings Ltd (Lewis Gdanitz & Yoshihuro Kawamura) has opened the 4-star mi-pad Queenstown, which the owners describe as “New Zealand’s first fully ‘smart’ hotel” and “a next-generation, energy-conscious hotel experience for the smart traveller and the marriage of technology, sustainability, comfort & convenience”.

The 6-storey hotel at 4 Henry St has 57 rooms with the latest in-room tech, multiple social spaces & a rooftop terrace (where the view above is from).

And the key to mi-pad Queenstown is that there is no key.

Guests booking their stay download the hotel’s personal app, ‘Mia’, and their smartphone becomes a room key, meaning physical check-ins (or check-outs) are a thing of the past.

“Mia also has a range of other tricks up her sleeve, enabling guests to set temperatures & mood lighting in their room (even remotely), request room service or alert hotel staff that they don’t want to be disturbed.

“Access to the hotel is available 24/7 thanks to the technology. Once guests are settled in, Mia transforms into a personal digital concierge, delivering the latest information on events, activities or offers and encouraging the guest to experience the best of the destination.

The $15 million John Blair-designed hotel is in the heart of Queenstown.

Years in the making

Mr Gdanitz, a Queenstown property developer, spent 3 years developing the mi-pad hotel concept – “the result of 15 years of research, travelling the world and finding the places that did accommodation really well.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to deliver a property that’s unlike anything else on offer in New Zealand, operating on a premise of affordable luxury delivered using the latest technology.

“I’m also very proud of the eco-conscious initiatives we have in place for every aspect of the operation.”

Mipad Holdings is a joint venture between Mr Gdanitz and hotel investment & development company TJK NZ Ltd, which owns luxury boutique hotels The George in Christchurch and Regent of Rotorua.

TJK NZ chief executive Stephen Borcoskie said the company had a proud pedigree of leadership in, and commitment to, the New Zealand hotel industry: “Our goal is to always exceed customer expectations by excelling in service delivery, and we’re thrilled to be entering the Queenstown market, which consistently leads the way in delivering world-class experiences & lifelong memories to visitors from around the globe. It makes perfect sense to open a unique property like this in Queenstown.”

Hotel manager Kylie Hogan has 20 years’ experience in international resort management, and commented on the unusual management style: “We’re offering an innovative, connected hotel experience for smart travellers who’d prefer to spend their hard-earned dollars on experiences rather than pay over the odds for accommodation.

“We appreciate that they want to keep in touch with family, friends or colleagues, whether they’re here to ski their hearts out, check out bike trails, enjoy some world-class golf or award-winning wines.

“Mia’s the key to all of that, the complete package for guests who want to have fun like a local.”

The hotel’s beds are queen-size, rooms have clever storage options, smart TVs and bathrooms featuring organic products & top-of-the-line hair-styling tools.

Guests can have as much or as little interaction with mi-pad staff and other guests as they like, including the option to share experiences, photos or messages through Mia’s private chat group. A floor-to-ceiling ‘social wall’ in the hotel’s entrance lobby also features Mia’s latest updates & guests’ shared experiences.

The hotel offers snack & breakfast options, but Mi-pad’s owners decided to keep F&B services to a minimum to encourage guests to savour the town’s eateries.

The rooftop terrace has an outdoor fireplace, plentiful seating & 270° views of Lake Wakatipu & surrounding mountains.

Mipad Hotels

Attribution: Company release.

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Sale of chip off old Herald site enables hotel development to proceed

An 1100m² central city corner – part of the site of the NZ Herald for over 150 years – has been sold for $31 million at a land value of $28,181/m².

Local development company Mansons TCLM Ltd settled the sale of the 1100m², at the corner of Albert & Wyndham Sts, to Australian company Pro-invest Developments Pty Ltd last week. The Sydney company is planning a 490-room dual-branded hotel development of about 37 levels on the site (pictured).

Bayleys senior broker Paul Hain in conjunction with the agency’s director of hotels, Nick Thompson, negotiated the sale.

Mr Hain said the transaction would enable a 22,500m² hotel building to be developed on the corner portion of the 4258m² former Herald site which Mansons originally put up for sale.

“While the sale agreement was negotiated last year, settlement was contingent on the issuing of a new standalone title for the land which Pro-Invest has purchased. This will now allow them to proceed with the construction of the hotel.”

Mansons confirms office plans for balance of site

All 15,000m² of the old Herald buildings have been demolished, and Mansons TCLM director Culum Manson confirmed the company intended to develop a lowrise large-format office building of 25-30,000m² on the remaining 3158m² of land, which also has frontage onto Mills Lane.

“We are currently in the design & resource consent planning phase for this building, which will be similar to our other recent office developments, with very large individual floor areas which are popular with tenants.”

The Herald vacated the property in 2015, when parent company NZME Ltd relocated all its Auckland media operations into a new office complex which Mansons developed on the corner of Victoria St West & Graham St.

$100 million of hotel sites sold or under contract

Mr Thompson said the sale was one of a number of Auckland cbd hotel development sites that

Bayleys’ hotel division has sold or has under contract at a total transaction value of over $100 million.

“We are receiving continuing enquiry from offshore investors for quality hotel development sites in Auckland in particular, with interest heightened by major forthcoming events such as the America’s Cup & APEC leaders’ summit.”

Pro-invest Development said last year the new hotel, which will have its main entrance off Wyndham St, would accommodate 2 InterContinental Hotels Group brands. It aims to have the Auckland hotel opened in 2020.

Managing director Tim Sherlock said there would be 290 Holiday Inn Express rooms on the lower levels and 200 EVEN hotel rooms on the upper levels, which Pro-invest would develop, own & manage under a franchise agreement with IHG.

EVEN Hotel Auckland will be the first for that brand outside North America, and also the first in Pro-invest Group’s plans for a portfolio of 10-15 EVEN Hotels in Australasia on behalf of the Pro-invest Australian Hospitality Opportunity Fund, in partnership with IHG.

Pro-invest Developments is part of Pro-invest Group, a boutique investment firm specialising in private equity real estate & real estate asset management.

IHG has developed the brand in response to what it says is a consumer shift toward holistic wellness – especially as it relates to travel. Features of the hotel include best-in-class fitness facilities, in-room exercise zones and nutritionally designed menus, with fresh & organic, ethically sourced foods.

IHG’s chief executive for Asia, the Middle East & Africa, Jan Smits, said wellness travel was a rapidly growing global phenomenon: “With EVEN Hotels, we have a created a brand that will deliver a local wellness experience to travellers for whom health & wellbeing is so important. I firmly believe that the EVEN Hotels brand will be a key driver in market share growth in New Zealand & Australia.”

Mansons TCLM
Pro-invest Group

Attribution: Agency release, company website.

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Updated: AccorInvest puts whole Australian portfolio on market

Published 25 July 2018, updated 25 July at 10pm.
Updates: Closing date of expressions of interest, leasehold rooms.

AccorInvest has put its Australian portfolio of 23 hotels up for sale, with long-term operating leases to AccorHotels.

The portfolio – 17 freehold & 6 leased properties valued at over $A300 million – is being offered through an expressions of interest campaign conducted by JLL Hotels & Hospitality for either the whole portfolio or individual hotels, closing on Tuesday 28 August.

The Accor SA hotel group of France split its business into operator (AccorHotels) & investor (AccorInvest) in 2013. In February this year, Accor announced it intended to sell 55% of AccorInvest, which owned 891 hotels around the world at that time, to 2 sovereign funds, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and GIC of Singapore, institutional investors Credit Agricole Assurances, Colony NorthStar & Amundi, and other investors.

That transaction was completed at the start of June, with 57.8% sold for a total €4.4 billion ($NZ7.56 billion).

Meanwhile, AccorHotels completed its acquisition of Australian hotelier the Mantra Group Ltd’s operating business in June for $A1.2 billion. Mantra had a portfolio of 125 Peppers, Mantra & BreakFree hotels & resorts in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia & Hawaii. 11 are in New Zealand.

4 of AccorInvest’s 17 Australian freehold assets are Ibis hotels and the other 12 Ibis Budget. They contain a total 1797 rooms. The 6 lease interests are the Como Mgallery by Sofitel in Melbourne, the Novotel, Mercure & Ibis hotels in Brisbane and the Mercure & Ibis hotels in Perth, containing another 1249 rooms.

AccorInvest acquired 15 of the Ibis hotels from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for $A200 million in December 2016, as part of a restructure of that sovereign wealth fund’s restructure of its 31-hotel Australian portfolio.

JLL, 24 July 2018: One of Australia’s largest hotel portfolios for sale

Earlier story:
15 October 2017: AccorHotels details full takeover of Mantra

Attribution: JLL release, Accor.

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Work starts on new Britomart hotel

Cooper and Co NZ (Peter Cooper) said on Monday construction of the 104-room hotel it will build in the middle of the Britomart precinct in downtown Auckland to take 20 months.

To be called The Hotel Britomart, the 10-level development has been designed by Cheshire Architects.

Cooper & Co chief executive Matthew Cockram said the hotel would be built at the corner of Gore & Galway Sts, and the development would extend to include the refurbishment & restoration of the adjoining Masonic & Buckland heritage buildings.

Cooper & Co has appointed international hoteliers TFE Hotels (Toga Far East Hotels) as operator & manager of the hotel under the TFE Collections brand, which Mr Cockram called “a portfolio of unique & beautiful discovery hotels in Australia & New Zealand with a sense of story, place & purpose”.

Toga is a joint venture between Toga Group and Far East Hospitality Holdings and has 70 hotels in Australia, New Zealand, Europe & Asia under the Adina, Rendezvous, Medina, Travelodge & Vibe hotel & serviced apartment labels.

Mr Cockram said: “The Hotel Britomart is an exciting new challenge for Cooper & Co and the start of a new phase of evolution for Britomart. It allows us to take the appeal & vibrancy of Britomart as the heart of the cbd neighbourhood to a more intense & concentrated level by having people to stay. Guests will delight in the exquisitely designed rooms & spaces, with The Hotel Britomart’s discreet central location giving them easy access to the amenities & wide range of food, beverage & retail offerings of the Britomart precinct.”

The hotel’s distinctive brick exterior will be punctuated by an irregular constellation of windows. “Britomart has always been a place that confidently collides and enmeshes past and future,” saysof Cheshire Architects Ltd director Nat Cheshire, who designed the building with the firm’s Dajiang Tai, said: “The Hotel Britomart is a contemporary building, but the handmade qualities of its brick exterior are in intimate conversation with its heritage neighbours. The project also allows us to reach into the heart of the city block and open up intimate new laneways & a tiny cobbled square, which will enrich the streetscape & the future of Britomart. For us, this is as exciting as the hotel itself.”

Mr Cheshire said 99 of the hotel’s rooms would have interiors designed by Cheshire Architects. The 5 Landing Suites – 3 of which will feature outdoor sky gardens – were a collaboration between Cheshire Architects & Seattle’s Lucas Design Associates, and would offer some of the city’s most refined accommodation. The suites reference The Landing, the vineyard with luxury residences in the Bay of Islands also managed by Cooper & Co.

Cooper & Co executive chair Peter Cooper said: “Our experience in providing luxury accommodation & hospitality at The Landing made us want to create a city hotel that expresses all the values of the Britomart precinct.

“Britomart is a crossroads at the heart of downtown waterfront Auckland, and the hotel is another important step in enabling us to welcome people from everywhere and make them feel at home here.”

The Hotel Britomart’s ground floor will be occupied by its lobby, retail outlets and food & beverage offerings. The new hotel will be connected to the adjacent heritage buildings by a laneway that will lead to the hotel’s main entrance and also form a new connection with Customs St through the Masonic Building. Cooper & Co is working with Auckland Council & Auckland Transport to transform Galway St into a shared space during the hotel construction process, making the Britomart precinct an even more welcoming environment for pedestrians.

Bracewell Construction Ltd (Glenn Bracewell) has been contracted as builder. Cooper & Co is targeting a 5-star Green Star rating for the building that’s part of a wider commitment to sustainability throughout the Britomart precinct.
Bookings for the hotel will open 6 months before completion.

Attribution: Company release.

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