EXCLUSIVE BY JAMES WILKINSON
The Latimer Hotel has become the first hotel in Christchurch to start re-building on a major scale since two earthquakes ravaged the city in late 2010 and early 2011.
According to owner Peter Knight, whose family has controlled the property since 1969, there was an “obligation to rebuild and contribute to the recovery of Christchurch”.
“In realising the importance and significance of Latimer Square, we have undertaken the entire planning process with a focus on blending the property into the area and providing a suitable eastern gateway to the Central City as outlined by the Christchurch City Council’s Draft Plan.
“Having been fortunate enough to have been able to obtain all necessary insurances has been a huge step in the rebuild process.
“As it stands, resource consent is the only stumbling block holding up the start of the piling and construction progress… that being said, all indications to date and are positive with everything being signed off before Christmas.
“In regards to the property itself, the proposed structure has been planned with a great deal of consideration to guest concerns regarding further disaster risk and is aimed at appeasing these and focusing on providing comfort.
“The overall height of the hotel has been reduced, whilst the design and engineering process has been carried out in such a manner that the building is 20% above the new earthquake code/regulations; fire and sprinkler systems have also been future-proofed above current code.
“Opening in early 2013 the Latimer Hotel is to be an entirely new property and will remain in the four star category.
“A concerted effort has been made to ensure that the build process will enable every opportunity and chance of securing the prestigious Qualmark Gold Environment Star Rating.
“The focus of the hotel will be on providing the latest technology and design features, coupled with excellence service to provide a first class hotel experience.
“Given the large number of dining options that have been rendered inoperable there has been a concentrated effort into providing a quality dining and entertainment option. ‘30’ will include an A La Carte dining area, merging into an informal dining and lounge area, and finally into a designated bar area
“Perhaps one of the biggest draw cards to this new area is false frontage that will enable guests to dine on the terraces overlooking the square itself.
“The 137 room property will include 8 functions rooms of various sizes being able to cater for a range of conferences and events.
“It will also include the facility to produce the 390 square metre Canterbury room; the flagship of the Latimer Hotel’s conference venues, this exhibition room will easily handle the requirements of the larger groups and occasions.
“Furthermore, every one of these rooms will encompass the latest in audio and visual aspects creating the ideal environment for everything from boardroom presentations to weddings.
“It is certainly an exciting time ahead, with the opportunity to show case an entirely new product in the near future a fantastic prospect,” he said.