Developers of the $1 billion-plus Britomart precinct in downtown Auckland have announced a new 104-room, 10-level hotel on the site of Better Burger and The Britomart Country Club.
Cooper and Company said Bracewell Construction would begin building The Hotel Britomart on the corner of Gore St and Galway St in the area where the hospitality businesses traded but had now shut.
Matthew Cockram, Cooper and Company chief executive, said international chain TFE Hotels had been appointed the operator and manager.
"Cooper and Company is commencing construction of The Hotel Britomart, a new 10-level development designed by Cheshire Architects in the Britomart precinct," a company statement said.
"The hotel will be built at the corner of Gore and Galway Streets, with the development extending to include the refurbishment and restoration of the adjoining Masonic and Buckland heritage buildings.
"International hoteliers TFE Hotels have been appointed as operator and manager of the hotel under the TFE Collections brand."
Colliers International said this week New Zealand was suffering from a critical hotel room shortage. Only 526 rooms had been added to Auckland's hotel stock since 2013 and only 158 to Queenstown. Yet both were gateway areas for New Zealand tourism.
Dean Humphries, Colliers' national director of hotels and tourism, said the NZ International Convention Centre was expected to attract about 33,000 delegates a year; the America's Cup could attract 150,000 to 175,000 international visitors and Apec could attract 22,000 attendees, including 10,000 for the summit week alone.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has estimated New Zealand will have 5 million international visitors by 2024.
A new hotel is being built at the NZICC between Hobson St and Nelson St and a new Karaka hotel was announced last month under the Doubletree by Hilton brand.
Cockram said his company's new hotel was the start of a new phase of Britomart's evolution. Nat Cheshire designed the building with Dajiang Tai, also of Cheshire Architects and it also designed the interiors.
"The project allows us to reach into the heart of the city block and open up intimate new laneways and a tiny cobbled square, which will enrich the streetscape and the future of Britomart. For us, this is as exciting as the hotel itself," Cheshire said.
Five suites will be developed and three of those will have outdoor areas, designed by Cheshire Architects and Seattle's Lucas Design Associates.
"The suites reference The Landing, the vineyard with luxury residences in the Bay of Islands also managed by Cooper and Company," the statement said, referring to Peter Cooper's rural waterfront Bay of Islands property, The Landing, where he is selling sites, many of them rural and waterfront.
The hotel's ground level will have shops and a lobby and the adjoining Masonic and Buckland heritage buildings will be restored as part of the project.
"The Hotel Britomart's ground floor will be occupied by retail outlets and food and beverage offerings. The new hotel will be connected to the adjacent heritage buildings by a laneway that will lead to the hotel's main entrance and also form a new connection with Customs Street through the Masonic Building. Cooper and Company is working with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to transform Galway Street into a shared space during the hotel construction process, making the Britomart precinct an even more welcoming environment for pedestrians," the statement said.
The announcement follows the developer's ditched plans for a new Quay St hotel in controversial and much-criticised plans launched eight years ago when a panel of independent commissioners approved a towering hotel in the area which includes the Union Fish, Police Wharf and Northern Steamship buildings.
Concerns were raised at the time by the Auckland Council, Auckland Regional Council, Historic Places Trust and heritage campaigner Allan Matson to preserve the "low-rise, heritage-based precinct".
That was in 2010 and now a new site has been chosen for the development.
Cockram's statement said construction would take 20 months.