Sudima Hotel plans $20m upgrade

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 07:47 13/06/2013
Sudima Hotel

DETAILED SKETCH: An impression of the proposed redevelopment of the Sudima Hotel at Christchurch Airport.

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The private owners of the Sudima Hotel Christchurch plan a $20 million upgrade including the demolition and rebuild of the most visible wing of the hotel which has "sole rights" attached to its airport location.

However, the hotel has signalled it may give ground on the sole rights, allowing Christchurch Airport to go ahead with a planned backpackers on the campus.

The rebuild of the Sudima airport site is planned to start in September, though consents are yet to be finalised, and will add nearly 40 rooms to the existing 208 room Memorial Ave location.

The project which also includes the upgrade of other rooms is planned for completion by the end of next year.

The work is being welcomed by hotel and tourism industries which say every extra room added to Christchurch's inventory, decimated in the 2011 earthquakes, is a bonus.

At the end of 2012 there were about 4532 rooms in Christchurch across all accommodation types, well down on the pre-quake peak. By December 2015 the industry expects that number to rebound to 6196.

Sudima Hotels NZ and Australia director of operations Les Morgan said the chain had upgraded its plan partially based on potential new airline services through the airport.

The original plan to refurbish the hotel dated back 18 months and with a limited budget. "But we've found now with the confidence the Christchurch Airport seem to have in the future and certainly with the demand we're enjoying at the hotel that we've decided to commit approximately $20 million," Morgan said.

The occupancy at the hotel since the quakes had sat around 85 per cent .

The hotel is owned by the Indian Jhunjhnuwala family from Hong Kong, with one of their family members based in Auckland as chief executive.

"[Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala] has established five hotels in New Zealand and Australia under the Sudima brand and he's hoping to develop many more over the coming years," Morgan said. The $20m precast concrete extension and upgrade would be project managed by Arrow International.

The hotel had three wings. The Washington wing would be demolished and would make way for a new entrance area and a three-storey 90-room 4.5 star "executive" wing.

The hotel chain had been in talks with the airport company, and its own plans for a backpackers. The Sudima had not given up its "sole rights" for accommodation, Morgan said, and was still in talks with the airport .

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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