Chandigarh: Chandigarh residents had virtually given up hope of seeing the hotel ever function. But, finally after 27 years, the Park Plaza, which has changed its name and owners in these years, is set to be open Monday.
Labelled as ‘jinxed’, the hotel, located in Chandigarh’s most prime commercial area, was earlier christened as James Plaza. It was originally allotted as a 5-star hotel site in Chandigarh’s commercial hub, Sector 17, in 1985 by the local administration.
Having changed owners many times since then, the hotel remained only an incomplete building in the past 27 years. Even the Taj-GVK hotel site, just across the road, which was allotted just over a decade ago, started operations over five years back.
However, the ‘jinx’ has finally been broken with the Rs.125 crore ‘Park Plaza’ getting operational Monday. The hotel will be managed and run by the Sarovar Hotels and Resorts group, which has a pan-India presence in the hotel industry.
“The incomplete building looked really ugly over the years. Many kids in Chandigarh have grown up seeing it at this prime location. It is good to hear that the hotel has finally been completed and is going to be operational,” businessman Naveen Soni said.
The hotel site had been resumed (taken back by the government) for the third time in May 2008 after the owners failed to ensure its completion.
The prime site, said to be worth nearly Rs.2 billion in the realty market, saw the administration setting several deadlines for its completion and resuming it thrice since the project kept missing the deadlines repeatedly.
The site was first allotted to Mehfil hotels, a company owned by former union minister and ex-Chandigarh MP Harmohan Dhawan, in August 1985 for over Rs.8.3 million. The lease deed was signed in January 1986. However, after the allottee failed to deposit the amount, the site was resumed the same year.
Failure of the owner to fulfill conditions of lease for payment of money or completion of the structure within a time specified by the government leads to resumption or taking back of the site by the government agency under an all-India law.
In December 2004, the site was restored to the owner. He was asked to deposit Rs.8 million for this. However, he failed again and the site was resumed once again in February 2006.
The site was restored to a new owner in May 2007 with the condition to complete the hotel within one year. A year later, it was resumed again. But later, following the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the building was restored to the owners in February 2009 with a completion deadline of 11 months.
Though the hotel was completed last year, the necessary clearances and certification from the authorities concerned delayed its getting operational.
“We welcome the new entrant in Chandigarh’s hospitality sector. With newer hotels coming, Chandigarh can now easily host bigger conferences and conventions. This will help in boosting business,” Anil Malhotra, general manager of the The Taj hotel said.