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New $50m hotel for Wellington


New $50m hotel for Wellington

The capital is to get its first new hotel in 12 years thanks to a former Wellington developer who has made his name in the tough Auckland property market.

Nigel McKenna and his company Melview Developments have signed a deal with Six Continents Hotels which will operate a Holiday Inn four star hotel as part of a $150 million development on Featherston Street.

Mr McKenna began his property development career in Wellington in the early 1990s and has been heavily involved in the waterfront development around the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland.

In addition to the hotel, the Wellington project will comprise retail, office and residential developments on the prime city site bounded by Featherston, Whitmore and Bunny Streets.

Construction of the 200-room Holiday Inn Wellington is due to begin in early 2003 and the hotel will open in early 2004. It is the first purpose-built international quality hotel the Capital has seen in more than 12 years.

Mr McKenna says the site is one of Wellington’s best, handy to the CBD and Wellington’s retail precinct, Parliament, the Railway Station, ferry terminals and WestpacTrust Stadium.

Costing about $50 million, the hotel project is the result of extensive research that revealed a clear demand for a quality hotel.

“Wellington hotels outperform most in the rest of the country in terms of occupancy and room rates,” he says. “Wellington City hotels had a 70 per cent occupancy rate for the 12 months to the end of May this year. That’s an increase from 67 per cent in the previous 12 months and well above the national average of 47 per cent.”

Melview developments chose Six Continents after issuing a request for proposals in early 2001.

“The proposal from Six Continents was selected for several reasons including the fact Holiday Inn is a well-recognised international brand with a global network providing big benefits for consumers, investors and Wellington itself,” Mr McKenna maintains.

The 16-level hotel is being built to Melview’s specifications with features designed to provide for privacy and take advantage of city and harbour views.

The architect and interior designer is well known Wellington firm Studio of Pacific Architecture, a team that has worked closely with Mr McKenna on his $100 million Beaumont Quarter urban renewal development in central Auckland.

The ground floor will comprise of retail premises and the first and second levels will be undercover parking for hotel guests and tenants. The first floor also contains a luxury recreational facility including a fully heated 18m swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna and plunge pool, plus three conference rooms.

Investors will be able to buy unit titled hotel rooms for prices commencing from $166,000. Owners will receive a fixed eight per cent return on their investment for five years.

One, two and three bedroom rooms will range in size from 32 sq m up to 115 sq m.

Mr McKenna picked up a number of ideas for the development while on a study trip to Europe. The building will be constructed of concrete columns and beams and clad with an innovative terracotta panel system similar to that used on buildings in Europe.

“The design will provide a visual ‘bridge’ between the hotel and a number of adjacent buildings including the Railway station so it will not be out of place in its context,” he says.

It is the third Holiday Inn for New Zealand and the first for the North Island.

Melview Developments will be announcing details of the other two stages of the project in the near future.

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