Work to begin on $22m hotel

SUSAN STRONGMAN
Last updated 05:00 17/02/2014
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Novotel Hobson

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Construction of New Plymouth's $22 million Hobson Hotel will begin next month.

The hotel's developer, multimillionaire rugby investor and property developer Philip Brown, has announced it will operate under the Novotel brand and be completed in mid-2015.

Mr Brown, who founded Tenderlink.com before selling it to Australian company Fairfax Media for $21.6 m in 2010, said construction of the four-star hotel would involve up to 100 contractors over the next 15 months.

Once open it would employ about 70 people.

The contract to build the hotel was given to Hamilton company Foster Construction, which had produced buildings such as Hamilton's Centre Place and the Claudelands Events Centre. The company would work in conjunction with New Plymouth building firm ICL Construction.

"This is a significant and large scale development for our city and just the boost needed for our local economy," Mr Brown said.

He said the majority of works on the hotel would be carried out by Taranaki businesses.

Venture Taranaki chief executive Stuart Trundle said the construction of the hotel was great news for the region.

"A major private investment such as this is a positive reflection of the region's economic buoyancy and joins a range of indicators in predicting a bright future for Taranaki."

He said tourism was New Zealand's second largest export earner, behind dairy.

"Raising our region's ability to respond to growing demand can help Taranaki gain a bigger slice of this pie and drive further growth in the future."

Taranaki's annual guest nights had been rising steadily since May last year, according to Statistics New Zealand's commercial accommodation monitor.

In 2013, the region attracted a total of 589,666 guest nights - up 3.3 per cent on 2012, Mr Trundle said.

Designed by New Plymouth architect Murali Bhaskar, the hotel would have approximately 100 rooms - a mixture of executive and studio rooms, one-bedroom apartments and a luxury penthouse suite.

Mr Brown said design aspects and some amenities were still to be finalised but would potentially include a 100-seat restaurant, conference area, two bars, a day spa, lap pool and gym.

The planning and consent phase of the project had taken three years, with the land having been bought in 2011.

A New Plymouth District Council hearing was held in February last year because the council had received four objections to the hotel's construction.

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Primary reasons for the objections were loss of value of neighbouring properties, outlook and shading from the hotel.

A nearby motel also objected about potential noise from the hotel's convention centre.

Novotel is the mid-scale hotel brand in French hotel group Accor's portfolio and has about 400 hotels and resorts located in 60 countries.

- Taranaki Daily News

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