31 Aug 2010

Timelines still to be set for latest attempt to finish Cook Islands hotel

7:24 pm on 31 August 2010

An investor has been secured for the abandoned Sheraton Hotel at Vaimaaga on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

The half finished hotel has sat idle since the late 90's, with re-development plans in more recent years also failing.

The owner of the 10 hectare site is paramount chief of the Takitimu district, Tepaeru Pa Ariki Marie.

Her lawyer, Tim Arnold, says a deed of lease was signed with New Zealand development company Mirage Group Limited this year

The Cook Islands Business Trade and Investment Board had approved the application for re-development.

It's chief executive, Terry Rangi, says timelines have not yet been set with the developers and there are some issues the board would like to see addressed.

"With the intention of completing a hotel you'd have to assess where the labour's going to come from. We're reliant on imported labour, so there's the infrastructure and environmental issue and the fact that the actual building itself has been around for some 20 years."

Terry Rangi says however the planned five star hotel will not negatively affect other resorts, but will bring in a new clientele to Rarotonga.

The investment is estimated to be worth about 35 million US dollars.