Taj Hotels set to operate R550m hotel at Melrose Arch July 31, 2008By Roy CokaynePretoria - India's Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces has entered a joint venture to build and operate a R550 million hotel at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.The owners and developers of the mixed-use precinct are the other members of the team. It will be the second five-star hotel in South Africa developed by Taj Hotels, which is part of India's diversified Tata Group. A R450 million hotel under construction in St George's Mall in Cape Town is due for completion by the end of next year.Garnesh TG, the development director of Taj Hotels Africa, a joint venture with Tata Africa, said that each of the hotels was expected to create about 350 direct jobs and another 500 indirect jobs. The group would next look at developing a hotel in Durban.The 148-room Taj Johannesburg, which will open in 2011, is one of two hotels to be built in the new development phases at Melrose Arch. Called the Piazza scheme, it involves a total investment of R1.72 billion and will provide 87 000m2 of office, hotel and retail space.Melrose Arch already has the five-star African Pride boutique hotel.
Nicholas Stopforth, the Gauteng regional director for Amdec Property Development, the development manager for Melrose Arch, said the four-star Melrose Arch Hotel would open in February 2010 to operate during the Fifa World Cup.Stopforth said this 197-room hotel would be operated by a prominent South African hotel operator he did not name.Melrose Arch is owned by Southern Palace, a joint venture between Amdec and Property Partners, which acquired it from the Sentinel Mining Industry Retirement Fund in 2004.Stopforth said City Power had guaranteed power for the new phases at Melrose Arch. Phase one, due for completion next April, comprises 50 300m2 of shops and offices; phase two will have 20 600m2 of retail, hotel and office space by next October; phase three will add 3 150m2 of stores and offices; and phase four is the 13 500m2 Taj Johannesburg.Stopforth said 88 percent of the retail area in phase one and 67 percent of phase two had been leased.