City hotel for World Cup 2010

2009-02-26 00:00

All things being equal, the doors to Pietermaritzburg’s newest hotel will open to the public in time for the 2010 Soccer World Cup next year.

Construction of the R100 million hotel is expected to start next month on an underused area at the Liberty Midlands Mall to meet a chronic shortage of upmarket accommodation in the city.

The project represents a strategic alliance between Southern Sun and Liberty Properties in what will be the first StayEasy-branded hotel to be constructed in KwaZulu-Natal.

The 128-bed hotel will be built on land fronting Sanctuary Road near the existing entrance service on the Woolworths side of the mall.

It is understood the hotel was originally slated for land adjoining the Liberty Midlands Mall, but delays in the transfer of affected properties prompted the decision to build the hotel in time for the football extravaganza next year.

The city may be feeling the impact of the global economic slowdown, but that did not stopped two of the country’s leading corporates to unveil a R100 million hotel investment in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Addressing Liberty Midlands Mall tenants and the media, representatives from Liberty Properties and Southern Sun announced the construction of the first StayEasy-branded hotel in KwaZulu-Natal.

The 128-bed hotel will be completed in time for next year’s 2010 World Cup in what represents a partnership between Liberty Properties and Southern Sun.

The three-storey hotel will help alleviate an estimated 800-bed shortage of accommodation in the city, according to Liberty Properties’ head of concept development Thea Marx.

“We have identified the need for an upmarket hotel some time ago, and realised we had to start building if we wanted to capitalise on opportunities associated with next year’s Soccer World Cup,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of Southern Sun, StayEasy operations director Dhayalan Naidoo said the investment represented a vote of confidence in the city.

Naidoo explained that while the StayEasy brand sorted under the “economy” positioning within Southern Sun, the hotel will reflect an upmarket feel.

Marx added that the hotel and mall should be seen as a synergistic development that would add value to both entities. She also reassured tenants and shoppers, saying that construction was highly unlikely to affect trade at the mall.

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