Campaign for Cathedral Square hotel operator

8:00 PM Friday December 1, 2017 Colin Taylor

The site of the proposed five-star hotel is bordered by Cathedral Square and Colombo St - facing its intersection with Gloucester St. The new library is under construction across the road. Photo / Supplied

An international campaign is being mounted to find a hotel operator for a prime high-profile site on Cathedral Square in Christchurch.

“The Crown land has been earmarked for a five-star hotel adjoining the convention centre,” says Nick Hargreaves, managing director of JLL. “The property will be marketed through an international expressions of interest campaign that will seek registrations during early 2018.

Once we have located a prospective hotel operator we will then need to find an investor or developer to construct the 180 to 200 room hotel.”

He says the 1662sqm site is bordered by Cathedral Square and Colombo St - where it faces the intersection with Gloucester St. 

“This project has been orchestrated in great detail by the crown agency Ōtākaro to form part of a well-planned development in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square,” Hargreaves says. “Once completed, the hotel will occupy the prominent corner lot next to the north-west corner of Cathedral Square between the convention centre and the new Christchurch Library which is under construction across the road on Colombo St and Gloucester St.

“The hotel will have internal access through to the convention centre, which is also now under construction, and will benefit from a number of shared services and facilities, while still providing all the amenities of a five-star hotel within its own building envelope.” 

The convention centre is due for completion in the first quarter of 2020 and the hotel site will be available for development six months before that.

Hargreaves says a new hotel will boost tourism in Christchurch and bookings at the convention centre. At present, there is no accommodation facility of this quality in the vicinity.

“This is a prime location,” says Albert Brantley, Ōtākaro’s chief executive. “Having a premium quality hotel adjacent to the convention centre will help us secure significant business events. It’s one of those ‘boxes’ that conference organisers want to tick.”

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An artist’s sketch depicting the site of the new hotel within the Christchurch CBD. Photo / Supplied

To assist in progressing the development, Ōtākaro has consulted Christchurch City Council about building and resource consents, which will be required once the final design has been confirmed. Resource consent is required for buildings over 28 metres in height and Ōtākaro has explored initial designs for options around 45 metres.

Following the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the original convention centre and most of the premier hotels in the city were among 1250 buildings to be demolished.

Hargreaves says the city is missing out on about $90 million a year as a direct result of not having a convention centre.

“High quality accommodation is required to facilitate convention bookings and provide a top end option for visitors to Christchurch; essentially the two go hand in hand,” he says.

The original convention centre destroyed by the earthquakes helped Christchurch lay claim to 24 per cent of the national convention business. A $220 million extension has been proposed to double the size of the former centre so that multiple events can be held in tandem.

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Nick Hargreaves of JLL.