Floors: 27, with two basements
Height: 350 feet
Covered area: 1.5 million square feet
Total project cost: Rs 1,500 crore-plus
Coming up, Calcutta’s largest star hotel.
Dwarfing the existing ITC Sonar Calcutta, the new “super-luxury” structure of Sonar II on the northern side will house seven multi-cuisine restaurants, retail showrooms, 24-hour coffee shop, banquet and more.
“It will be the largest hotel complex in Calcutta,” municipal commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay told Metro.
“It is coming up as a gift to the city of ITC’s international headquarters.”
ITC officials were tight-lipped about the timeline for the Bypass address, but the municipal commissioner revealed that the Calcutta Municipal Corporation had already taken up construction of a Rs 7 crore road on the western side of the proposed hotel, off the Bypass.
“It will serve both the ITC hotel complex as well as Milon Mela (the book fair ground),” said Bandyopadhyay.
The ITC East India hotel plan was sanctioned by the municipal building committee in August 2008. The company paid Rs 18 crore as sanction fees for 1.5 million square feet.
The latest annual report of ITC Limited lists Chennai, Bangalore and Calcutta under “Three Great Hotels in the Making”, adding to its chain of super deluxe property.
The Chennai property is being called ITC Grand Chola, the Bangalore one ITC Royal Gardenia and the Calcutta address Sonar II.
ITC chairman Y.C. Deveshwar is likely to unveil the full plan about the property to shareholders in the annual general meeting scheduled on July 24.
The company has been on the lookout for a suitable plot for a second property and had bid for adjacent land on the Bypass where DLF Hilton is now supposed to come up.
It had also gone land-hunting elsewhere on the Bypass but found the price forbidding. So, it decided to use the land available with its six-year-old ITC Sonar property.
Hospitality sources said the new address would be “bigger and grander” in scale than the existing star hotels in town, with the rooms at least 25-30 per cent bigger than the regular ones.
Some industry observers are sceptical about the scale of the project in hard times, but Ranvir Bhandari, the area manager (east) and general manager of ITC Sonar, said: “We are bullish about Calcutta and our expansion plans are geared accordingly. We plan to expand and specialise in our core areas of accommodation, F&B and a world-class spa.”
The average rate per five-star room in town today is Rs 7,000-8,000 against Rs 11,000-12,000 a year ago, observed an industry veteran, before pointing out that “even at breakneck speed”, the 500-room hotel would take “at least three years” to be functional. “By then, we all hope the scenario will be much better.”
The only time Calcutta does need more star rooms is in the peak November-February season, when visitors don’t find a place even if they are willing to pay up to three times the normal rate.
In 2006, the city was the happy hunting ground for seven-eight star hotels, but the downturn has slowed them all down. All but Sonar II.
“I think it’s a great time to go ahead with such a project. They are bang on,” said Nitin Kothari, the vice-president of the Hotel & Restaurant Association of Eastern India.
source: The Telegraph