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Business

Tokyo's Hotel Okura to get pre-Olympics makeover

TOKYO -- In business since before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, one of Japan's most venerable hotels will be rebuilt in time for the Summer Games' return here in 2020, The Nikkei learned Thursday.

     The main section of the Hotel Okura Tokyo will close sometime around August 2015, to be replaced by a 200-meter hotel-and-office tower and an 80-meter building for guest rooms.

     Located in the capital's Toranomon district, the 408-room main building opened its doors in 1962 and is showing its years. Its operator, Hotel Okura Co., fears being overshadowed by a new generation of mostly foreign-owned hotels going up in central Tokyo. Among them is Hyatt's Andaz Tokyo, set to open next month.

     Hotel Okura aims to complete the roughly 100 billion yen ($976 million) renovation in the spring of 2019. Until then, the 388-room south wing will remain open for business.

     The new high-rise will feature 20 floors of office space, intended to generate a steady flow of income. Together with the smaller building, it is expected to hold about 550 guest rooms, a 30% increase. Hotel Okura will weigh various options for financing the project, including securitization.

     The company intends to retain all of the hotel's roughly 1,000 employees. Some will work at the south wing, while others will be transferred to group hotels in Japan or overseas.

     Hotel Okura Tokyo holds a place in Japan's hotel royalty, along with Tokyo's Imperial Hotel and Hotel New Otani. Like other businesses dependent on tourism, it was hit hard by the slump that followed the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. While its occupancy rate climbed back above 70% last year, thanks to an increase in foreign visitors, spending per guest has been slow to recover.

(Nikkei)

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