Last piece of the puzzle fits in with style

By Anne Gibson

The Westin hotel in Auckland's Lighter Quay won a tourism and leisure excellence award at the weekend.

Judges of the Property Council award said the development had resulted in "a stunning luxury hotel" which completed the development of that area of the city's waterfront.

The hotel's neighbours are four large multi-level apartment buildings which were developed around a private marina at the edge of the Viaduct Harbour.

Nigel McKenna, managing director of Melview Developments which developed Lighter Quay, said the $300 million Westin was an ambitious seven-year job which resulted in the new five-star 172-room hotel.

"The Westin Hotel was the last stage of the five properties at Lighter Quay and was the final piece of the jigsaw," McKenna said.

He praised architects Peddle Thorp and designers Martin Hughes and Tom Skyring "for their design excellence and for the fact that they didn't object to my quiet hands-on approach to building design and fit-out."

He said tourism was New Zealand's most important future industry and Melview was the largest hotel developer in this part of the world, with more than 2000 rooms either built, still under construction or planned.

The company has turned its attention south.

"For now, it is time to concentrate on the next four hotels we will be opening in Queenstown over the next few years at our $1 billion mixed-use resort village Kawarau Falls Station, as well as our new $500 million luxury McArthur Ridge resort based on the world's largest Pinot Noir vineyard," McKenna said.

Building work for Queenstown's first Westin - a 177-room project - is well under way and the complex is set to open in Kawarau next year.

Melview also plans to build a 221-room InterContinental, a 195-room Quay West and a Quadrant Hotel in Queenstown, as well as developing Flat Bush, a new town centre in Auckland's Manukau.

McKenna founded Melview in 1996 and since then has completed or planned more than $3 billion of development work.

One of his largest Auckland projects was Beaumont Quarter, a leasehold housing estate where the landowner and residents are now pitched against each other over an annual ground rent rise from $900,218.45 to $4.4 million for the 258 units.

- Anne Gibson

- NZ Herald

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