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Viability of new Christchurch hotels under threat

The Marque Hotel in Christchurch: a building that could be the tallest hotel in the city under new height restrictions

Proposed height restrictions for buildings within the Christchurch CBD could threaten the viability of new hotel developments, hotel industry representatives say.

The New Zealand Hotel Council’s submission to CCC’s draft Central City Plan raises, serious concerns regarding the proposed height restrictions for the CBD.

“For hotels these restrictions will have a profound economic impact on the viability of any future new hotel developments. Return on investment under the new constraints would be significantly diminished, as fewer rooms would be able to be accommodated on an average sized site,” says NZHC Christchurch Regional Chair, Bruce Garrett.

NZHC applauded the Christchurch City Council for the considerable effort that had gone into producing the Draft City Plan, in exceptional circumstances, but noted that the proposed height limits, parking restrictions and issues around road front accessibility did not take into consideration the unique way hotels operated.

“The special nature of hotel operations needs to be recognised,” Garrett says. “Guests can’t be expected to walk any length of distance with luggage or conference materials and hotels must be able to provide on-site car parking and have adequate set back from the road to eliminate any traffic congestion with tour coaches and passengers disembarking.”

Rebuilding the convention centre as quickly as possible within the CBD is high on the list of priorities for NZHC Christchurch members, as is the development of a “corridor of normality” within the central city.

“Hotels based within the CBD need reassurance that once they reopen visitors will be able to come back into the city and that there will be activities for them to enjoy,” he says.

The Earthquake (EPI) Centre development was also strongly supported by NZHC members who saw this as an important tourism asset and a landmark for Christchurch.

“Given that earthquakes have become the new history for Christchurch, it is important that we leverage off this and create something unique that will attract visitors back to the city,” Garrett says.

Prior to the February earthquake, NZHC Christchurch members operated 3717 rooms across 27 properties. Currently 854 of those rooms are operational across eight properties.

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