Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hospitality giant on land hunt for city address

Zuri Hotels & Resorts
a multinational conglomerate promoted by a consortium of investors from West Asia is scouting for
opportunities in Kolkata. The company is open to contract management opportunities as well as setting up its own hotel in the city. The Zuri Group is into real estate, floriculture and hospitality with resorts and hotels in Kenya, the UK and India.

"The Zuri group sees tremendous potential in Kolkata and rest of the east. We are keen to be present in the hospitality sector here at the earliest. We are in talks with a couple of hotels on a possible management contract and use of the Zuri brand. If something does not work out within six months, we will look at a 1.5-2 acre plot in Kolkata proper to set up a 140-170 room business hotel. The investment will be around Rs 200-225 crore," said Aditya Mata, general manager of the Zuri group's flagship property in Kumarakom, Kerala. The group owns two other hotels in Goa and one in Bangalore.

The team currently camping in Kolkata to negotiate with potential partners is looking for a property with large banqueting facility to tap the marriage market. "Since marriages in Kolkata are elaborate, we want to get into the business. It's a good money-spinner as well," said Mata.

Incidentally, the company was looking for land in New Town and Rajarhat but developed cold feet after the Vedic land scam. "Land has become a hot potato. The thing that happened in Rajarhat was an eye-opener. We are now looking for a property in the central business district," company spokesperson Priti Chand said.

Apart from Kolkata, the group is eyeing properties in Ahmedabad, Pune, Chennai, Nagpur, Visakhapatnam and Mysore. While three of the four hotels that the group has in India are resorts, the company is now looking at business hotels that have a shorter return on investment.

Meanwhile, city-based Gama Hospitality (GHPL) on Tuesday signed a master franchisee agreement with Global Franchise Architects (GFA) to launch four international brands Coffee World, Pizza Corner, The Cream & Fudge Factory and The Donut Baker in the eastern region. With an investment of Rs 52 crore, GHPL will focus on Kolkata in the initial phase this year.

"We intend to open 35 outlets in this part of the country in the next 18 to 24 months using up a cumulative floor-space of about 42,000 square feet. All the four brands should be in Kolkata by the end of this year," Gama's director Gaurav Agarwala said.