Green light for central city hotel

LAURA BASHAM
Last updated 12:00 01/02/2014

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A new hotel planned for central Nelson has gained resource consent and could be under construction within months.

A five-storey building with 40 apartments operated by Quest Serviced Apartments is to be built on a site which is now vacant land used as a car park between Collingwood St and Alma St by Buxton Square.

A Nelson syndicate of property investors is working with Arrow International, which is the project manager.

The final details are being confirmed between the parties.

Arrow Nelson area manager Steve Kelso said once that was concluded, the building consent application would be made, "then we will be digging holes".

Quest NZ chief executive Stephen Mansfield is waiting for the development to be 100 per cent confirmed but said construction could start in April or May, with completion early next year.

It would be a 4-star building with 4.5 star service, with an apartment costing $130 a night.

It would be the 36th Quest hotel in New Zealand. There are more than 150 Quest hotel apartments in New Zealand, Fiji and Australia.

Most bookings would be from travellers who were corporate clients and the location suited them because it was close to banks, businesses, the court and government departments, and because it was central it would also suit other visitors to town, said Mr Mansfield.

"Our clients are telling us they want our type of product there.

"It's more delivering to the existing market the type of product they want.

"We do believe Nelson will continue to grow and develop, but we're not expecting rapid growth.

"The feedback from existing people is they are not getting the accommodation they want."

A lot of Nelson accommodation was boutique, which was great as a lot of people enjoyed that experience, while Quest clients wanted to go somewhere they trusted, relied on and knew.

"They are not experience travellers, they are people who want reliability, certainty, and good value, professionally delivered."

A lot of time, effort and money had gone into getting the project to this stage, he said. The project, including the land and building, would be about $5 million-$6m.

Mr Kelso said the group of local property investors did not want to be named but were excited consent had been granted.

Nelson City Council confirmed it had been decided that the resource consent application for a commercial building providing tourist accommodation apartments would be processed on a non-notified basis and an amended consent was granted last week.

The building meets the restrictions for a 15-metre height limit and the amendments were to allow for a design change to relocate the lift shaft, reducing the building footprint and to remove a vehicle service access from Alma St.

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Mr Kelso said it was a significant development for Nelson and the first five-storey building to built for some years.

"There is a degree of confidence in the market that was not there a year ago," he said.

When the project was first presented to the market two years ago it was warmly received but nobody had jumped up for it.

"Now there is a degree of confidence of people electing to spend.

"They have been sitting on any spare funds for a while and decided now is the time to move before the Christchurch supply chain gets too pressured."

Nelson Tasman Tourism chief executive Lynda Keene said: "We're absolutely thrilled to welcome a new accommodation provider into the city."

Quest had grown exponentially around New Zealand, she said.

"Over the last decade there has been a shift of people who are generally hotel or motel stayers to move into accommodation that is more apartment style.

"I think it is going to be a growing trend and it will be a great asset to have more apartment-style accommodation here."

The Collingwood St location was fantastic, with easy access to bars, cafes and other eateries, she said.

The addition of Quest to Nelson would help raise the profile of the city and region.

Nelson's range of chain hotels includes the Rutherford, which is a Heritage Hotel, Trailways, a Mainstay, and the Grand Mercure, an Accor hotel.

- The Nelson Mail

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