Spring spending
Regency International upgrading Yk properties

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (Jun 02/99) - Regency International, owned by Grandfield Pacific, is spending about $1.5 million to upgrade its Explorer Hotel and Discovery Inn properties, operations director Curtis Sagmeister said Monday.

"We're taking a long hard look at who we are and what we do and we're identifying markets that have not been tapped," he said.

"We're on the tail end of completing renovations to the lobby and public areas. That means new carpet, new furnishings and automation."

More than half of the Explorer's 128 rooms are getting new furniture this year. The remaining rooms will be refurnished over the next 18 months.

Sagmeister said the new technology will speed up check-in and check-out times. The soon-to-be-installed system will also be linked to the hotel's accounting operations, he adds.

As part of the changes, the hotel will launch two new restaurants: Sakura, which will serve Japanese cuisine, and Barkley's, which will evolve from the Factor's Club.

"We're happy with the progress. In the next four months, we'll be completely done," he said. Sakura is due to open in the next few weeks.

As well, the Eastcoasters Newfie Pub will close on June 12. The pub, owned by Dave Paul and Bill Fitzgerald, leased space from the hotel. The space will likely be turned into office space or be used as additional conference space, Sagmeister said.

The company also launched a new Web site at www.explorerhotel.nt.ca.

The majority of the $1.5 million (about $1.2 million), will be spent at the Explorer Hotel.

At the 41-room Discovery Inn, the plan includes changes to the front desk and spending on security and furniture.

Sagmeister also said Regency International could be hiring up to five to 10 new staff over the next year.

Last year, Grandfield Pacific, in its annual report, said it was pursuing acquisition of the Discovery Inn. The deal was completed recently. Up until the purchase, Regency International had a contract to operate the Discovery Inn.

Regency International also has a contract to operate Iqaluit's Frobisher Inn. Regency's parent company, Grandfield Pacific, is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.