A Thai-headquartered business has been granted consent to introduce its Avani accommodation brand to New Zealand, wanting to open at Auckland's Metropolis apartment complex.
The Overseas Investment Office granted consent for an application from Oaks Hotels and Resorts NZ to acquire an interest in the towering Metropolis in Auckland's CBD. But the Herald understands no deal has been reached yet with the body corporate which is in charge of the building.
"The applicant intends to introduce its Avani brand to NZ by upgrading the Metropolis apartment complex to the required Avani 4.5-5 star standard," the office's decision said.
The application said the deal was "an overseas investment in sensitive land, being the applicant's acquisition (in one or more transactions) within six years of the date of consent of any interest in the Metropolis apartment complex, 1 Courthouse Lane, Central Auckland."
Oaks, listed by the OIO as a "99.73 per cent Thai public company" got consent to buy apartment assets from New Zealand's Glory Family Trust and Chang Eun Oh.
Metropolis apartment owners held an extraordinary general meeting last month to vote on Avani's proposal to establish its operations there.
This involved deciding on whether to grant a licence to Oaks Hotels and Resorts NZ under a section of the Unit Titles Act 2010 to occupy parts of the common property of the ground floor and basement of the building.
Avani's proposal satisfies New Zealand legislation because it would create jobs, increase export receipts, bring greater productivity or efficiency and make additional investment for development purposes, according to the office's decision.
No vote was taken, one owner said, and the body corporate was to seek more information on the Avani deal.
Avani says it wants to establish reception and concierge services. It plans an accommodation or hotel-style business under a licence agreement with the body corporate.
Avani would open a 24-hour reception, managing and renting out apartments within the complex and operating according to its policies and standards. It told the Metropolis body corporate that it would professionally manage apartments and support the body corporate in maintenance and refurbishment of places within the tower.
As well as buying a number of apartments, it would also pay the body corporate a fee, understood to be more than $200,000 annually as well as contributing about $45,000 for building works.