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In 2017, the ILT announced plans to develop The Langlands, a 4.5-star hotel on the corner of Don and Dee Sts in Invercargill.
The initial plan was to open the facility by October 2021, but disruptions due to the Covid-19 lockdown and alert level settings delayed the project for about a year.
With less than two months to the opening, Mr Ramsay said yesterday the trust had finally worked through in detail the financial impact of disruptions on the development.
He concluded the total cost of the project was $52 million — $2million more than originally budgeted.
"We had to work incredibly hard to keep at that level. There is no denying we had to review after each of lockdown and levels, because there was a noticeable effect on time and therefore money.
"But at the same time, credit to all of those involved in the project that managed Covid as well as they could and therefore didn’t negatively affect the budget any further. "
Although there was a cost increase, the biggest challenge was lost revenue due to the delay in opening.
"As soon as we get it open, the sooner we are able to generate revenue."
Now, with the opening due in the first half of August, he was excited with the potential boom the development could bring to the city.
He said the ILT executive team had just returned from meetings in Christchurch where there was a huge interest in The Langlands for conferences and events.
‘Everyone was asking for rates and saying they were very keen, so we know ... it is getting some good publicity and a strong interest from people bringing their events to town, so that is great."
Now the focus until the opening date was making everything ready and sorting staff.
About 60% of the 80 people were already hired, he said.
"We are just looking forward to welcoming people in. It is taking a bit more time than we wish, but I am very pleased that we started when we did.
"It would be incredibly hard to justify a building of this size now, and the costs of it in today’s terms.
"Yes, Covid has an impact but ... not bad as it could have been."