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Big hotel chain Millennium & Copthorne buys CBD land for an hotel in Whangarei
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New Zealand's second largest hotel chain, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand, has struck a conditional agreement to buy land in the CBD from the Whangarei District Council for a four-star hotel development.

The hotel group's managing director BK Chiu said the new Hundertwasser Art Centre, under development, would be a drawcard for Whangarei where more demand for accommodation was emerging.

"You would be surprised the number of Europeans coming to New Zealand who go to Whangarei to see his art work."

The purchase price of the land in Dent Street is $2.15 million. It will be the hotel group's first hotel in Whangarei. It has three hotels in Northland, in the Bay of Islands, Paihia and in Hokianga.

Masterton's Copthorne Solway Park Hotel and Resort, one of the hotels managed by Millennium & Copthorne, has been a mainstay of the accommodation scene in Wairarapa for decades.

The purchase was subject to due diligence by Millennium & Copthorne and approval by the Overseas Investment Office, the hotel group said.

The hotel group owns and manages about 21 hotels in New Zealand, according to its latest annual report. Its hotel brands are Millennium, Copthorne, Kingsgate and Grand Millennium in New Zealand. Copthorne is the group's biggest brand here with 10 hotels carrying it.

Chiu said the Whangarei hotel was likely to be branded either Copthorne or M Hotel and would support the emerging demand for accommodation in Northland and Whangarei.

The hotel group was pleased to be part of the development of Whangarei.

The group was different from other international chains in that it owned a lot of its hotels in New Zealand. Many international hotel operators just managed hotels here. It had been part of the hotel industry in New Zealand for 25 years and was listed on the New Zealand sharemarket.

The social and economic benefits from international and domestics tourists were substantial and visitor accommodation was a vital part of that. The new hotel would be part of a nationwide and international network and it would bring visitors to Whangarei.

"The new hotel will provide new jobs and career opportunities and we hope it will enhance and develop other enterprises in Whangarei to the benefit of the wider Northland community," Chiu said.

A further update would be provided once the conditions had been satisfied and the agreement settled.

Whangarei District Council Mayor Sheryl Mai said Whangarei was in desperate need of high quality accommodation.

The under-development Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau M?ori Art Gallery would influence a lot of tourists' decisions about where they go in the region and put Whangarei on the map.

Cruise ships were expressing interest in coming to Whangarei because of it also, she said.

Another hotel development is being talked about by a group of local developers, the Northland Development Corporation. Mai said that group were in discussions with interested hotel developers.

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