Thu, Dec 14, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Cornerstone partners with IHG to enter local hotel market with Kimpton brand

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Malaysia’s Cornerstone Partners Group yesterday joined forces with InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (IHG) to enter the local market, saying that demand for international hotel brands remains healthy.

The two firms are turning a 14-story building near Pacific Sogo Department Store’s (太平洋崇光百貨) branch on Taipei’s Zhongxiao E Road into Kimpton Hotel Taipei, which is to have a soft opening in the third quarter of next year.

“We believe there is still room for foreign luxury hotel brands, despite the rapid entry of lodging facilities by local operators,” Cornerstone CEO Jason Chong (張家榮) told a news conference in Taipei.

The Malaysian private equity firm has mainly engaged in acquisitions of hotels in the region and recently added Taiwan to its portfolio, he said.

The three-year-old firm secured a 20-year lease from local developer Radium Life Tech Co (日勝生) to manage an idle building in Taipei’s Daan District (大安) that Radium planned to turn into luxury apartments, but has been unable to find a buyer over the past few years.

The building has 3,300 ping (10,909m2) of floor space above ground and 1,300 ping of basement space on a 535 ping plot, for which Radium owns only the superfices rights, making it unattractive to Taiwanese home buyers.

Cornerstone would not rule out the possibility of extending the NT$100 million (US$3.33 million) lease for a year if necessary, Chong said.

Cornerstone is also developing a resort hotel in Pingtung County’s Tapeng Bay (大鵬灣) that might be completed in 2020, he said.

“We are not seeking to outcompete local hoteliers, but aim to make money through cooperation with international hotel chains,” Chong said, declining to name Cornerstone’s partner for the Pingtung property.

Cornerstone is to spend NT$400 million decorating Kimpton Hotel Taipei, which is to feature 129 boutique guest rooms priced between NT$7,000 and NT$8,000 per night, company officials said.

It is the first Kimpton property in Taiwan, said Justin Channe, greater China chief operating officer of UK-based IHG, which acquired the US boutique brand in 2015.

IHG owns brands including Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express that operate in the local market, he said.

“IHG has a growing distribution in Taiwan, where we see rapidly growing demand for boutique hotels,” Channe said.

The group already has one of the world’s leading lifestyle portfolios and looks forward to delivering a successful hotel that would become iconic in Taiwan and a landmark property for IHG globally, he said.

IHG has a further five projects in the pipeline in Chiayi County, Taichung and other parts of Taiwan, he added.

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