Major build: Construction is in full swing at a $25 million wellness centre near Glenorchy
A little-publicised $25 million wellness centre near Glenorchy is defying the recent slowdown in the Wakatipu’s construction industry.
The eco-friendly Aro Ha retreat, under construction since February, is part of a hive of activity on the Wyuna Preserve subdivision overlooking Lake Wakatipu.
The exclusive 34-lot subdivision was originally developed by former Levi Strauss jeans company boss Tom Tusher, who also built the nearby five-star Blanket Bay lodge, and local John Darby.
Up to 150 people are working on the retreat as well as three big homes at Wyuna.
Aro Ha is being developed by two American business partners as a world-leading holistic retreat.
Construction boss Peter Campbell from Triple Star Management says a further 70 workers will join the Aro Ha site by next year.
Campbell says Glenorchy, especially, is benefiting, and also the wider district.
“We’re spreading work amongst a number of different subbies in Glenorchy and Queenstown.
“We’re booking out almost every concrete truck that’s available from Cromwell to Alexandra to Invercargill for the large pours.”
Aro Ha sits on an 8.4 hectare site spanning Wyuna’s four southerly-facing lots.
Floor space occupies 2700 square metres.
The main spiritual room for yoga, meditation and movement will have a stunning view over Pig and Pigeon Islands and up the Greenstone Valley. It will also boast accommodation across four buildings for 36 guests, a community
hub, a spa building, long- and short-term accommodation for 18 staff and a large workshop.
Campbell says close to $5m will be spent on infrastructure and about $1m on landscaping.
The developers are aiming to generate all their own energy and food.
Campbell says a micro-hydro scheme, 450sq m of photovoltaic solar panels and a bank of lithium-ion batteries will allow Aro Ha to produce its own power.
Log boilers – fuelled by quick-growing trees grown on-site – will spread heat out to all the buildings underground.
However, Campbell says the heating requirement will be low because there’ll be double the normal level of insulation in floors, walls and ceilings.
The centre will also have two large septic systems, water bores and irrigation ponds, along with gardens and fruit, nut and citrus orchards.
“The whole thing is like an island,” Campbell says.
The developers state on their website: “The vision is that the facility will be an educational tool in regards to sustainable architecture and self-sufficiency.”
The project is due for completion in December next year.
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