Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Five-star hotel for Viaduct

A luxury hotel is planned for the waterfront site of the Team New Zealand base. Photo / Doug Sherring
A luxury hotel is planned for the waterfront site of the Team New Zealand base. Photo / Doug Sherring

Billionaire Chinese developers behind a new five-star Viaduct hotel jetted into Auckland this week for confidential, last-minute negotiations.

Representatives from the Fu Wah International Group are understood to have travelled to Auckland after winning the tender to build an ultra-modern luxury hotel on the site of the Team New Zealand base.

Waterfront Auckland confirmed it was in confidential negotiations with "a preferred party".

"These negotiations are currently working through the confidential stage of the process and an announcement is due to be made soon on who the party is, and a broad concept for the redevelopment of the site which is currently occupied by Team New Zealand," said a spokesman.

A source said the Wynyard Quarter precinct was "buzzing" with news of the development. The proposed hotel is described as "luxury on a scale never seen before in Auckland".

"No one can touch it because it comes at a huge price."

It is expected to be a 200-room hotel; offices and apartments will be built on 5500sq m of land owned by the Waterfront Development Agency on behalf of the Auckland Council.

Fu Wah's bid is understood to have won out over a rival tender by Wellington-based firm Willis Bond.

Fu Wah's chairwoman, Madam Chen Lihua, a self-made billionaire, was named as one of Time magazine's most influential people in 2012. Last week, Fu Wah bought Melbourne's landmark Park Hyatt hotel for about $143 million in its first major purchase in that country.

The Viaduct project is the second luxury hotel for Central Auckland, along with hotel group Accor constructing a designer Sofitel So in the old Reserve Bank building in the Britomart precinct.

The 133-room hotel is due to open early next year, and is just the fourth such Sofitel hotel to be built in the world.

- Herald on Sunday

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