Quake-prone hotel rooms closure postponed

The closure of two earthquake-prone wings of Queenstown's Rydges hotel has been postponed until next month.

Event Hotels New Zealand general manager Simon White said it had postponed the closure from the end of this month until March 17 while it worked on a redevelopment plan.

The extension meant the hotel could remain at full capacity during the peak conference season.

''The hotel is very much a conference venue, and we have a lot of conferences in the first part of March.

''We spoke to all the affected parties and they're more than happy to stay in the hotel.''

The Otago Daily Times reported in December the east and west wings of the hotel complex, on Lake Esplanade, were earthquake-prone.

They contain 89 of the hotel's 165 rooms.

The central building, with conference, restaurant and bar facilities and the remaining rooms, has been assessed as exceeding minimum seismic standards.

Mr White said the redevelopment could involve strengthening and refurbishment of the wings, or demolition and a rebuild.

''They're still working through what's the best possible scenario for that piece of land.''

The company identified the buildings as potentially earthquake-prone in November after commissioning a consulting engineer's report as part of a planned upgrade.

Although it has 15 years to bring them up to minimum seismic standards, it has decided to remediate or rebuild as quickly as possible.

In December, the Queenstown Lakes District Council confirmed the wings were among 45 buildings in the district it had assessed as quake-prone using a new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment identification methodology.

Mr White said the company had contacted all future guests with reservations for the two wings to offer cancellations in case they ''felt uneasy'' about staying in the buildings, but ''less than a handful'' of guests took up the offer.


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