Published December 04, 2012

Park Hotel Group to run hotel in Little India

Owners RB Capital Hotels want the group to manage new 300-room hotel slated for completion in 2015

By Kalpana Rashiwala

RB Capital Hotels has appointed Singapore headquartered Park Hotel Group to manage a 300-room hotel that is is being developed above Farrer Park MRT Station.

Park Hotel Farrer Park, which is expected to open in the first half of 2015, will be connected through an underground pedestrian walkway to City Square Mall. It will also be close to the popular Mustafa Centre.

This will be Park Hotel Group's fifth Park-branded hotel in Singapore. The group, controlled by the Law family of Hong Kong, manages, owns and develops Park-branded hotels in the Asia Pacific.

Market watchers say there could be more to the partnership as both groups own hotels and it could make sense for them to pool their hospitality assets for a potential Reit flotation at some stage.

RB Capital is developing Park Hotel Farrer Park on a 99-year leasehold site, which it clinched at a state tender that closed in April this year.

It paid slightly over $151 million, or $1,079 per square foot per plot ratio, for the 33,326 sq ft site at the corner of Rangoon and Farrer Park Station roads.

At least 60 per cent of the maximum gross floor area of about 140,000 sq ft must be for hotel and hotel-related uses.

Park Hotel Farrer Park will tap the cultural heritage, shopping and tourism appeal of Little India. In addition, the location is also shaping up as a medical hub, noted Kishin R K, head of RB Capital Group and RB Capital Hotels.

"With the upcoming Connexion healthcare and hospitality complex across the street from the new hotel, Farrer Park will become a key medical hub serving the needs of both locals as well as medical tourists from the region," he says.

RB Capital is planning to set aside about 50,000-55,000 sq ft of its project's gross floor area for medical suites, along with a ground-floor retail strip - as part of the development's maximum 40 per cent non-hotel component.

"Park Hotel Farrer Park will serve the fast-growing population of business and leisure travellers seeking a high-quality hotel located in the vibrant shopping and entertainment district of Little India," said Mr Kishin.

Allen Law, chief executive of Park Hotel Group, revealed that the group is targeting to launch a global sales office, its ninth, in India next year.

This will be part of the chain's efforts to generate greater awareness and brand preference in more origin markets by increasing its exposure and presence.

Established in Hong Kong since 1961, Park Hotel Group moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2005 and acquired seven properties in four years. Today, the group owns three Singapore properties - Grand Park Orchard, Grand Park City Hall and Park Hotel Clarke Quay. It will manage a hotel being developed by Chip Eng Seng at Alexandra Road.

The property, which is also expected to be ready in 2015, will be named Park Hotel Alexandra.

Overseas, Park Hotel Group's portfolio includes hotels in Kunming, Wuxi, Xian, Hong Kong and Japan.

Said Mr Law on the appointment to manage RB Capital's hotel in Farrer Park: "Being headquartered here, Singapore is definitely an important market to us and we hope to locate Park-branded hotels in the strategic areas and key hubs of the country.

"Singapore is also a launch pad for us to grow our hotel management services to foray into overseas markets such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of South-east Asia."

Park Hotel Farrer Park is being designed by RSP Architects Planners & Engineers, the architects behind Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay, another development by RB Capital Hotels. It is slated to open next year.

RB Capital is also developing a hotel in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, which will come under the Holiday Inn Express brand.