Christchurch's Holiday Inn to be demolished

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2012
holiday inn
Fairfax NZ
HOLIDAY INN: The hotel's demise is another blow for the city's quake-hit tourism and conference industries.

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The planned demolition of another of Christchurch's landmark city centre hotels – the Holiday Inn – has been confirmed by the building's owner, Philip Carter.

The project to demolish the 13-floor Holiday Inn hotel – located on the corner of Cashel and High streets near the Hotel Grand Chancellor – was out for tender, Carter said.

Holiday Inn City Centre Christchurch has 149 rooms and a conference room big enough for 400 attendees, and its demise is another blow for the city's quake-hit tourism and conference industries.

The Copthorne hotel on Durham Street is already down, with work on the demolition of the nearby Crowne Plaza and the Grand Chancellor under way.

Carter owns the two Garden City inns (Holiday Inn Avon and Holiday Inn City Centre Christchurch) and the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Queenstown.

The future of the Holiday Inn Avon was still under consideration, with engineering assessments ongoing.

Carter said he could not talk in great detail on the city Holiday Inn except to say it was out to tender to be demolished.

"Certainly the Holiday Inn in the city isn't going to survive, the other one [on the Avon Loop] we're still working on ...," he said.

"[The demolition] is out for tender at the moment and we're still working our way through that ... we're in discussions with various parties."

The Holiday Inn City Centre Christchurch was previously the unoccupied Centra office block which became the Centra hotel before it was rebranded.

Carter bought and redeveloped it into a hotel about 1995-96, spending $16m to $17m on the project. More recently, around 2009, the hotel was given a $2.5 million refurbishment.

The Holiday Inn Avon was the old Avon Motor Lodge, located on Oxford Terrace.

The NBR Rich List 2011 now estimates Philip Carter's wealth at $90m, and says the quakes have affected Carter personally. "Large cracks shattered his new $8m home on Clifton Terrace," the NBR says.

LAST OF IHG STAFF QUIT CITY FOR NOW

The Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands are owned by the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the largest hotel groups in the world in terms of room numbers.

IHG yesterday said it had recently withdrawn the last of its Christchurch-based staff but was committed to returning to the quake-hit city in the longer term.

IHG staff who were working in Christchurch at the time of the earthquakes had been redeployed across the group's Australasian hotels. Former IHG South Island area manager Blair Roxborough had left Christchurch in the last week or so to take up a senior position in Victoria.

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IHG intended to re-establish a presence in Christchurch, the spokesman said, but "what that presence will look like is uncertain at the moment".

The group had "owner relations and development" staff working to find out what needed to be done to get "hotels back on track".

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority spokeswoman Monique Devereux said Cera had yet to be informed of the demolition decision.

"We're still waiting to hear from the owners on that ... it's none of our business until they tell us," she said.

- The Press

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