Chal­lenge Boost Ho­tel In­dus­try

Fiji Sun - - SUNBIZ - CHARLES CHAM­BERS charles.cham­bers@fi­jisun.com.fj

Chal­lenge Group of Com­pa­nies has di­ver­si­fied to in­clude ho­tels in its line of busi­ness.

The group’s lat­est acquisitio­n is the Cathay Ho­tel in Lau­toka. Once a pride of Lau­toka.

This joins its Trans In­ter­na­tional and Ho­tel Oa­sis ho­tels in Nadi.All three are open with spe­cial rates. Chal­lenge En­gi­neer­ing Limited’s man­ager prop­erty main­te­nance and fa­cil­i­ties, Anit Gounder, said: “We have had re­duced oc­cu­pancy, but we have been hav­ing a lot of lo­cals stay­ing with us.

“We have dropped the room price to $75 per night for all three prop­er­ties.”

The re­cent pur­chase of Cathay Ho­tel has brought with it main­te­nance and re­pair works on the build­ing, Mr Gounder said.

The com­pany is in­creas­ing the num­ber of rooms at the ho­tel from 44 to 60, with a bud­get of $1 mil­lion.

Mr Gounder said oc­cu­pancy lev­els were still low with lo­cals as guests.

Plaza con­struc­tion

The Chal­lenge Group’s $40 mil­lion Air­port Plaza com­plex at Le­galega in Nadi is on hold, pend­ing mu­nic­i­pal and Govern­ment ap­provals.

Mr Gounder said a re­tain­ing wall around the four acre project site was con­structed as part of ground works.

How­ever, con­struc­tion of the com­plex was on hold pend­ing ap­proval from the Nadi Town Coun­cil and Department of Town and Coun­try Plan­ning.

Mr Gounder said con­trac­tors were wait­ing for the green light to pro­ceed with plumb­ing work.

Dilemma

How­ever, direc­tor Town and Coun­try Plan­ning, Mo­hammed Ziar, said he was not aware of the project and re­ferred queries to the Lau­toka City Coun­cil.

Lau­toka Town Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Craig Pow­ell said the Department of Town and Coun­try Plan­ning would have to first fi­nalise ei­ther the zon­ing or re-zon­ing of the area where the com­plex would be built.

“Once we have re­ceived this from the Department of Town and Coun­try Plan­ning, we could start work­ing on the ap­provals needed for con­struc­tion to take place.

“I will cer­tainly look into it and see what the holdup is.”

The two-storey com­plex will have floor space suit­able for su­per­mar­kets and 13 smaller re­tail out­lets, while the top floor would fea­ture the same floor space and nine re­tail out­lets.

Park­ing spa­ces will be in­cluded as part of the de­vel­op­ment.

“With this project and the in­ter­est shown by busi­nesses to set up here, in­creased em­ploy­ment is ex­pected.”

“This com­plex is be­ing out­fit­ted with the best ma­te­ri­als in the mar­ket, so our ten­ants can be as­sured of qual­ity fin­ish­ing.”

He ex­pects con­struc­tion to be com­pleted in 18 months fol­low­ing the ten­der process.

No re­dun­dan­cies

The Chal­lenge Group of Com­pa­nies has main­tained all its em

ploy­ees since coro­n­avirus af­fected Fiji. Mr Gounder said man­ag­ing direc­tor Suresh Pa­tel did not want his em­ploy­ees sent home, but had re­duced wages for all.

The Chal­lenge Group of Com­pa­nies com­prises:

■Au­tomart – one of the largest deal­ers of ve­hi­cles in Fiji.

■Mobi●e Cranes Limited – re­cently pur­chased two brand new cranes to com­ple­ment its fleet.

■Cha●●e■ge En­gi­neer­ing Limited - pur­chase and main­te­nance of prop­er­ties.

■Du●ci■a Limited – looks af­ter three en­ti­ties which are the build­ing where the com­pany head­quar­ters is sit­u­ated on Vi­togo Parade in Lau­toka, the Nadi Town End Com­plex (be­side the Nadi River) that con­sists of re­tail out­lets and the Ho­tel Oa­sis in Mart­in­tar, Nadi.

■Mari■a In­vest­ments Pte Limited - own­ers of the newly pur­chased Cathay Ho­tel on Tavewa Av­enue in Lau­toka.

■Epic Homes - own­ers of Trans In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel, near Nadi In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Cathay Ho­tel in Lau­toka now owned by the Chal­lenge Group of Com­pa­nies.

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