15 Mar 2008

Construction of Hilton Resort in Cook Islands to begin in a few months

11:00 am on 15 March 2008

The developers behind the Hilton Rarotonga Resort say construction will begin on the project within two to four months.

The Hilton project is an attempt to revive the ill-fated Sheraton Hotel on which work stopped in the 1990s.

Dan McEwan of the McEwan Group says work will initially begin on 50 apartments - 45 of which have been pre-sold as have about 80 of the 160 hotel rooms.

Mr McEwan says the current liquidity crunch has had no impact on the viability of the project.

He says building in the Cook Islands poses its own challenges but work will begin soon.

"We are looking in the two to four month period. With construction in the Cook Islands it's not like just going down the road and building something. You have your mobilisation. You need to get your workforce, that's a workforce both in Rarotonga and also people from New Zealand they need to move in and get set up. Materials, of course, need to be shipped in. So you allow two to three months of mobilisation before construction commences."