An Auckland carparking building once called an 'eyesore' by its owner has been transformed into a luxury hotel with suites costing up to $2000 a night.
Mansons TCLM is now finishing work on the Victoria Park Markets' car park at 206 Victoria St West, opposite Victoria Park and next to the Victoria Park Markets.
"The car park, which is an eyesore, will be removed from view and beautified with screening and planting of trees," predicted Luke Manson two years ago when plans were announced.
Now, his brother Mac Manson said the end result was aesthetically pleasing: "Hopefully we've flipped that around."
In a $20 million-plus job, six new levels were added to the existing five-level building. Nine shops were built at street level and the carparks retained.
Manson said Jason Gerrand of JCY Architects completed the design work. Sheets of weathering steel were applied to give an industrial look but they also have strength, meaning they a structural purpose as well, he said.
The building's exterior cladding was removed, its footprint expanded to the boundaries of Victoria St West and Drake St and a steel exoskeleton added to take the extra weight of the new upper levels.
"The exoskeleton supports the building above with the additions, strengthens the existing carpark, creates a wider building envelope and has aesthetic qualities. It's a building frame on top of the car parking building. The former existing building didn't run along the Victoria or Drake street boundaries so we added about another 168sq m to the ground floor," Manson said.
Suites will be managed by Hong Kong-headquartered Swiss-Belhotel International Hotels & Resorts as its first Auckland venture and president and chairman Gavin Faull the penthouse would command $2000/night on New Year's Eve, giving harbour bridge and SkyTower vistas.
Faull said Swiss-Belhotel had struck a 20-year lease with Mansons for the 40 suites with guest carparks.
We're pitching it as an all-suites hotel. This is more liveable than a hotel room, with a full kitchen, full living areas and balconies.
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Mac Manson said nine new shops constructed on the ground level would be marketed in the new year and food and beverage uses were anticipated. Work took slightly longer than anticipated because Mansons TCLM had so much work on.
The project took "two and a bit years", he said.
Faull, a New Zealander, said the hotel would open on October 21, adding to the 140 hotels his business manages and operates in 120 countries.
Auckland studio suites would start from $350/night, he said, and all had full-sized kitchens and laundries as well as dining areas, living rooms and separate bedrooms.
Faull's son, Oliver - Swiss-Belhotel's executive director - said double-glazing made the suites quiet, although the hotel was in the busy Victoria Quarter, near many bars, restaurants and offices.
"We're pitching it as an all-suites hotel. This is more liveable than a hotel room, with a full kitchen, full living areas and balconies," Oliver Faull said.
Nick Simmons, hotel manager, said more than 2000 room nights had already been sold and demand was strong from corporates and the business sector, particularly for accommodation for staff being relocated to Auckland.
One visitor estimated the penthouse would sell for about $6 million if it was on the market, Simmons said.
Gavin Faull said another new Swiss-Belhotel would open in Brisbane on October 21 and he said he hoped to work with Mansons again on other Auckland properties.