Moves afoot to reopen Marque in March

02:56, Aug 24 2011
Tentative opening: Reopening of the Marque Hotel Christchurch in Glouster St is dependent on getting access to the building.
Tentative opening: Reopening of the Marque Hotel Christchurch in Glouster St is dependent on getting access to the building.

The Marque could be one of the first cordon-confined Christchurch central city hotels to reopen, with a possible March opening.

That's the view of the hotel's general manager Brad Watts and NZ Hotel Council Canterbury regional chairman Bruce Garrett.

Watts said an opening would be possible if a safe access path is created to the Marque in Gloucester St down from Manchester St, north of the hotel.

Other hotels that could follow the Marque with mid- 2012 reopenings include Accor's Ibis Christchurch Hotel in Hereford St and Rydges on Oxford Tce.

Watts said the Marque - within a building owned by Ernest Duval - had a tentative opening date of March.

Workers had been in the hotel floors three to seven doing repairs to gib, and getting lifts up and running. Work was scheduled to be finished by the middle of January, with the hotel wanting to cater for events like the Ellerslie International Flower Show.

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"We're hoping that they're going to make a safe path down Manchester St. The cordon is just over the other side of the river there . . . then we're sort of aiming to get open by the first of March.

"But obviously that's got to coincide or dovetail into being able to get public access in here."

Duval and other city traders were also working to get other nearby areas - including New Regent St - up and running after the hotel reopened, Watts said.

Accor Asia Pacific originally had an end of 2011 target for reopening the Hotel Ibis Christchurch, but spokesman Peter Hook said that date had been put back to mid-2012. There had been an inspection on the property last week showing that structurally the building looked OK. The objective was to reopen by June 30.

The hotel remained the one most likely to open ahead of other Accor managed properties including the Novotel - in Cathedral Square - which also had excellent prospects.

The reopening of the All Seasons - near the long-term demolition project, The Grand Chancellor - was still a "long, long way away".

The Novotel was adjoining the damaged property around the old Warners Hotel, which would be demolished, he understood.

The nearby Base Backpackers - also part of the Accor grouping - had been demolished already.

"Really of the [Accor] hotels at the moment, only the Ibis has a firm [reopening] plan," Hook added.

Heritage Christchurch, on its website, said its hotel was not taking bookings for the "OGB wing" until April 1, 2012. A date for the "tower wing" was not yet available.

Chris Black, general manager of hotel development at Rydges in New Zealand, said the hotel would open in June, subject to a final engineering report. Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand managing director BK Chiu said the firm was still awaiting structural engineers' reports on the Copthorne Hotel Christchurch Central and the Millennium before any repairs.

The Press