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Chifley Eastern Creek. Chifley Eastern Creek. Featured
12 May 2013 Posted by 

Eastern Creek set for hotel expansion

By Anthony Stavrinos

SPECULATION has reignited over a second airport at Badgerys Creek with major business parks and attractions across Sydney’s west experiencing healthy growth and hotel operators are optimistically preparing to reap the rewards.

General Manager at The Chifley Hotel in Eastern Creek, Tony Tantaro, is preparing to start construction on a major upgrade of the site in July this year which will add another level to the building and drastically increase the hotel’s capacity from 100 rooms to 160.

Tantaro says the upgrade is principally driven by a positive economic outlook for Sydney’s western suburbs reinforced driven by a variety of factors which point to a

"We're fine with the cast stones for the hotel, we just want to add more rooms,” he told Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA).

“We feel the right time to do it is now as opposed to when the boom's in its peak or when business progresses. We want to get in now and be ready for it.

"Yeah, we feel it (demand in Sydney’s west) is going to continue to grow. It's about asset management. The owners feel that if they're going to have a better asset to travel with then they should build it now.”

Tantaro said a staged rollout was always planned for the property and stage one –construction of the hotel – was realised in 2008.

"We just feel 'let's get on with stage two now,” he says. "The architect’s plans had two lift shafts and the roof of the building's been designed to have more built on top.

"We feel one more storey is adequate to make it a 160-room hotel, which is the equivalent size to your Parramatta Hotels, the Novotel at Rooty Hill and more than adequate for this area.”

According to the quantity surveyor during the construction of the hotel, Washington Brown, there is still provision for a further four storeys on the site, even after the latest planned upgrade.

"The Chifley Eastern Creek was constructed on Greenfield sub-division of 1.1 hectares close to the Eastern Creek Raceway," Washington Brown's website says.

"Significant ground and civil works were completed to provide the site with sufficient infrastructure. The hotel is constructed over three levels and has the structure to carry possible stage two works for an additional five levels."

Tantaro says there has been impressive forethought on the part of those involved in the original design of The Chifley Eastern Creek and specifically, that they have allowed for staged upgrading of growth in the region.

"We're hedging our bets that the second airport will be put out at Badgerys Creek,” he says.

“We're more than comfortable knowing that the business parks like those at Wonderland and Bungarribee - they're all growing and tenants are moving all the time.”

Tantaro says both Wet ‘n’ Wild Sydney waterpark – which is scheduled to open in December this year – along with Sydney Motorsport Park and Blacktown International Sports Park, which is presently subject to a masterplanning process, have been the beneficiaries of infrastructure investments by the NSW Government.

He says this augurs well for continued future growth in western Sydney, but filling the hotel with its 60 per cent increase in capacity would “definitely be a challenge”.

“And the challenge will be two-pronged - there's always the pressure for an investment to start paying returns instantly and secondly, we also know that the Rydges Hotel will be opening later this year and they will challenge us anyway as far as market share is concerned,” Tantaro says.

"With that, we expect the Rydges Hotel to bring its own market share with it so we think it will bring more business to the area.

“Our company (SilverNeedle Hospitality) is well versed in building greenfield products and just doing the numbers in this area, our property will be before its time size-wise, so I expect we'll go from a 70-odd per cent average occupancy down to about 50 per cent for the first year (post-upgrade).”

If industry gongs are anything to go by, SilverNeedle has shown it’s a successful and formidable competitor to some of the more established local and international hotel brands.

In 2011, Chifley Eastern Creek and Chifley Penrith were recognised for the second year running as leaders in ‘Deluxe Accommodation’ in Western Sydney, taking out the Winner and highly commended Awards respectively in the category at the inaugural Greater Sydney Tourism Awards.

Tantaro is confident that the expected initial drop in occupancy levels, after his hotel’s upgrade is complete, can quickly be turned around with a targeted marketing strategy.

"We'll build that up pretty quickly because we'll aggressively get our sales team out there looking for new markets,” he says.

“What's going on at present is that we can't fit certain types of clientele in our hotel due to the fact that we don't have the right bedding configurations. That'll change - we'll get more ‘busload types’ of groups in."

Tantaro says that while he has not been given an official start date from SilverNeedle Hospitality’s head office, he expects work to begin in early July and continue for approximately eight months.

"We'll find that there will be some business disruption involved, which will work in the favour of our competitors. You have loyal customers that will put up with it but you have to be a little creative as well as price conscious,” he says.

"We might have to come back a bit on our price and we also might have to swallow a bitter pill and be proud and realise we are going to lose a bit of business while we're doing this, but it's for the greater good in the long run."

Tantaro stresses that The Chifley Eastern Creek is undergoing a major upgrade as opposed to a periodic “touch up” of rooms, which a hotel will carry out every seven to nine years.


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