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Commodore Hotel opens new wing

April 23, 2013

Media Release

Commodore Hotel opens new wing; first new hotel accommodation in Christchurch

Commodore bedroom lounge

The first “new” hotel accommodation in the city has opened with the guests enjoying the new 20-room Matai wing at the Copthorne Hotel Commodore at Christchurch airport.

Fifteen months in construction and costing $6.5 million, the new wing includes 18 business-level rooms and two suites and lifts the Commodore’s capacity to 160 rooms.

Michael Patterson, general manager of the Commodore, said that the decision was made to build the new wing in anticipation of increased demand and also before the rebuild gathered momentum.

“We could see the pressures that were going to occur in the construction market so we decided to get ahead of demand curve. We took our time with our planning with special consideration for the new building code, post earthquakes,” he said.

Inspiration for the wing has come from new hotels in Melbourne and Sydney. The rooms have generous work spaces making them ideal for the business traveller.

Patterson said that even though it is two years since the earthquakes, they are really only starting to get back to what they would call ‘regular’ business.

“After the earthquakes, with the CBD closed, and may businesses setting up in the suburbs, especially the north-west, coupled with our proximity to the airport, our hotel business took on a totally different aspect. A Cabinet meeting was held here, we became the consulates for many countries, and in the early stages businesses set up in the hotel including a local radio station.

“We are fortunate here that the land is stable which meant we suffered very little damage. It really was once-in-a-lifetime stuff and if it wasn’t for our great staff we may have struggled to cope with such a changing environment.

“There were disruptions and we would like to acknowledge the strong support we received from our customers during this unsettled time.”

Patterson said that the hotel had looked at expanding just prior to the Global Financial Crisis but had put that on hold.

Architect Chris Wilson, from Wilson and Hill, said that this is one of the first buildings to be designed under the new earthquake code.

“We actually sent the design to Wellington for 3D seismic analysis and testing via a computer model. Unlike retro-fitted hotels that are basically four walls with empty office space, new hotel buildings have lots of walls which give the building great stability.

“The other great asset was the land with firm gravels at a depth of only 2.5 metres. Engineers designed a special footing for the new code and we used 56 tonnes of reinforcing steel for the foundations and 120 tonne all up for the building.

“Also assisting the construction was the ability to pour four-storey high, single panel walls, thus negating the need for horizontal joints. We were then able to pour the floors between the panels which locked everything together.”

Construction of these four-storey high walls was possible because there was space to make them on site.

“Concrete is great thermally, giving a good stable temperature and we used low-e glass throughout, which performs better than standard double glazing,” he said.

Patterson said that the new building is called the Matai Wing, in keeping with naming the wings after New Zealand’s native trees.

“Matai stands tall and straight, just like the building, and we have used sustainably grown Southland beech as a feature. The aim is to create a sense of place with a feel that you are in New Zealand and at the Commodore Hotel. All our furniture and soft furnishings are locally made,” he said.

Commodore Hotel background
The Commodore Hotel was established by Tom Patterson, Nonie Ward and Michael Ward and opened on Christmas Day, 1971. It had 24 rooms. This was extended to 115 rooms in 1985 and to 140 in 2005. Itcontains seven well-equipped conference rooms available in various seating configurations, with a top capacity of 250. The leisure facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, spa, sauna and gymnasium. It also has an in-house restaurant and cocktail bar.

© Scoop Media

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