Investors revolt as Westin rooms shut

Investors who own units in Auckland waterfront Westin hotel are outraged that receivers have decided to shut 93 of its 170 rooms.Creditor Bank of Scotland appointed KordaMentha receivers to control of troubled property developer Nigel McKenna's Lighter Quay Hotel Management, the company responsible for paying Westin investors their returns, in June.In the High Court last month, individual leases on hotel suites were terminated after a dispute between unit owners and receivers.

Investors who own units in Auckland waterfront Westin hotel are outraged that receivers have decided to shut 93 of its 170 rooms.

Creditor Bank of Scotland appointed KordaMentha receivers to control of troubled property developer Nigel McKenna’s Lighter Quay Hotel Management, the company responsible for paying Westin investors their returns, in June.

In the High Court last month, individual leases on hotel suites were terminated after a dispute between unit owners and receivers.

KordaMentha receiver Michael Stiassny said because of the reduction in rooms available to hotel operator Westin, 99 staff would be made redundant.

“This is clearly disappointing as we have done everything possible to keep the hotel operating at full capacity until now,” Mr Stiassny said.

Westin unit owners, who said they invested around $80 million in the hotel on the premise of high returns but received few payments, said the situation had deteriorated.

“There is a very real potential here to badly damage New Zealand’s tourism brand, throw into disarray the plans of hundreds of guests booked for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, cost jobs and be a black mark against New Zealand’s international reputation as a safe place to invest,” unit owners’ representative Graham Wilkinson said.

“This property is New Zealand’s premium hotel, in our largest city and we are going to watch a slow destruction in value and a large inconvenience to thousands of guests.”

The hotel’s conference and spa facilities, café and restaurant would continue operating.

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