Top hotel investors eyeing Auckland for five-star potential

Leading international hotel investors are increasingly looking to buy into the Auckland market, but a New Zealand hotel expert says there simply aren’t enough properties to satisfy demand.

Colliers International Director of Hotels Dean Humphries says there has been an influx of enquiries within the last 12 months.

“Auckland hasn’t been the focus for top international hotel investors, but that’s changing rapidly,” he says.

“The City of Sails is fast becoming recognised as one of the world's leading gateway cities and tourism hotspots.

“With New Zealand’s tourism boom continuing and Auckland hotels performing at record trading levels, many of the world's leading hotel investors are actively reviewing opportunities in Auckland.”

Humphries says top investors are typically looking for exceptionally well located, high quality hotels to add to their existing portfolios in other gateway cities such as Sydney, Singapore, London, Hong Kong, New York and Tokyo.

“The issue is we simply don't have any existing hotels for them to purchase,” he says.

“The solution is to find a strategic development opportunity that will met their strict criteria, and One Market Square ticks all the boxes.”

Viaduct Harbour Holdings Limited (VHHL) has announced plans for a new landmark luxury hotel at One Market Square, a Viaduct Harbour site that was previously occupied by the Simunovich Fisheries building.

Angela Bull, Chief Executive of VHHL, says the waterfront site is exceptional, directly facing the Viaduct Harbour on two sides and with stunning views of Auckland.

“Viaduct Harbour is an outstanding lifestyle precinct in Auckland with unrivalled access to the water, quality restaurants, apartments and an international marina.

“One Market Square is perfectly positioned for a world-class hotel that will add to the vibrancy and attractiveness of the precinct.”

Colliers International has been appointed to undertake a global search for a world class development partner to build a luxury hotel on the site.

A preliminary design by Warren and Mahoney, a leading architectural firm behind some of New Zealand’s most iconic buildings, offers a floor area of 12,000sq m on a 1,288sq m site.

“With 165 rooms, and a rooftop bar proposed, we see this development as adding to the desirability of Viaduct Harbour and the continued investment in the precinct and surrounding area,” Bull says.

The development partnership model will keep the strategic waterfront land in New Zealand ownership, while opening the project up to beneficial foreign investment, she says.

“We’re looking for a suitable development partner who will build a world-class, iconic waterfront hotel that all Aucklanders can be proud of.

“We want a landmark development that will complement the many great buildings already built or underway in the wider Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter area.”

Humphries says One Market Square has the opportunity to bring some of the world's leading hotel operators to New Zealand.

“Auckland is underrepresented in major five-star brands. This is a chance for the right developer to bring a new global luxury brand to the city’s vibrant waterfront.”

Humphries points to the likes of Marriott, St Regis, Westin, Shangri-La, Fairmont, Mandarin Oriental, Radisson, Four Seasons, Peninsula or Rosewood, none of which have a presence in Auckland.

He says a range of five-star hotels are currently being built in all the major capital cities in Australia, and he hopes Auckland can join that trend.

“Investors are recognising the huge economic benefits of the current tourism boom to this region and the future investment returns that can be anticipated from building quality hotels in strategic locations,” Humphries says.

“One Market Square is without a doubt the best hotel development opportunity this city has seen in decades.”

Colliers International will be marketing the development opportunity via an international expression of interest campaign closing on 2 May 2017.

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