New Zealand-based Sudima Hotels and Resorts is set to expand its presence overseas in Australia and Fiji.
The company, led by Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala, has announced plans to open five new-build hotels in Wellington, Queenstown, Sydney, Melbourne and Fiji within the next five years. The hotel projects in Australia are expected to cost more than $200 million each, with two being developed in central business districts, and feature approximately 150 guestrooms. The property coming to Suva, Fiji will be geared toward the corporate segment of the market.
These new plans follow Sudima Hotels’ signing of a $70-million hotel project in Auckland's CBD. The company already secured building permission to convert the site of the former Datacom House into the new Sudima Auckland CBD with up to 200 guestrooms and plans to borrow close to half of the development cost. Sudima Hotels acquired the site in a $12.25-million deal with a private investor in November 2017. The Sudima hotel is slated to open by 2020 near the NZ International Convention Center.
Jhunjhnuwala told Radio New Zealand that hotel development in the country is not only 40 percent higher than in Australia, but also one of the highest construction costs in the world. Sudima Hotels is in talks with three development firms for the project. However, the firm contracted to lead the project may still have to hire foreign workers to complete the construction.
“I can’t emphasize that enough; it is ridiculous how much we pay per square meter. Finding enough staff to finish the job is a huge challenge… We are facing a huge skill shortage. If someone can bring someone from overseas, then why not,” Jhunjhnuwala said.
The Sudima Hotels has a total of four hotels at Auckland Airport, Christchurch Airport, Hamilton and Lake Rotorua. An additional two hotels are in the pipeline and scheduled to open in Christchurch City and Kaikoura by late 2019.