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Optimistic outlook for hotel sector

03 Dec 2007
A leading South African building contractor's current order book reflects the hotel and leisure sector's optimistic outlook ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Despite consumer spending waning in the face of ongoing interest rate hikes, resort operators and developers are investing in newer, bigger and better accommodation and entertainment facilities for the longer term, comments financial director John Paterson.

In Gauteng, Grinaker-LTA Building, part of the JSE-listed Aveng Group, is undertaking a R733m contract to build a new casino resort near Krugersdorp (Mogale City) for Gold Reef Resorts and BEE partner Akani Leisure Investments, and is also busy with a substantial contract to refurbish Gold Reef City Casino for the same client – a project that has included the construction of a new 1,000-seater theatre, The Lyric.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the firm is close to completing a new hotel in Umhlanga Ridge.

The Palms Hotel is situated on the corner of Centenary and Palm boulevards, opposite Umhlanga's popular Gateway Theatre of Shopping, explains Alf Maytham, managing director of Grinaker-LTA Building East. Operated by the Protea Group, it comprises two blocks linked by a circular tower.

The hotel will offer 122 rooms, while the separate apartment block consists of 28 luxury penthouse loft units, 50 two-bedroom apartments and four two-bedroom suites. Three levels of basement parking are also included in the development, along with a conference centre and two levels of commercial space. The Palms is scheduled for completion in January 2008.

The Silverstar Casino Resort, which is situated alongside the Krugersdorp to Pretoria highway, remains on track for a phased completion enabling gaming and other limited public areas - including extensive parking facilities - to open by mid-December.

"Following the changes to the scope of this project, however, other elements will be substantially completed during the course of March 2008," explains Ken Leach, managing director of Grinaker-LTA Building Inland, which is undertaking the contract. Final completion is now scheduled for April 2008, and he says the contract is progressing well.

"To date, the concrete structure of the main casino, casino back of house, conference, restaurants and structured parkade are complete, with the interiors and finishing work to these areas on track. "

The resort will ultimately comprise a hotel with health spa and three gaming venues. It will also include extensive banqueting and conference facilities, five restaurants, fast food court, bars, entertainment facilities and children's games arcade.

Gold Reef City Casino's facelift will be completed early in 2008.

"In order to cause the least amount of disruption to this operational hotel and casino, the project is being undertaken in small packages, with each phase completed and handed over to the client before the next commences," Paterson says.

The final phase of the main casino refurbishment is nearing completion, while the new designated smoking area, revamped food court and new restaurant areas have already been handed over to the tenants. The new Lyric Theatre opened on October 9 for its first production, Hairspray.

For more information contact John Paterson on 011 578 6200 or send an email. Click here to visit the website.

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