Bowen Cottages site sold

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A central Queenstown site earmarked for a failed affordable housing complex has been sold.

Q Box Motorhome Park, off Bowen Street, has been bought by an Auckland-based Chinese developer for about $4.3 million.

The site hit national headlines two years ago, when an affordable housing development known as Bowen Cottages was being promoted.

But then owner Gerry Oudhoff, of Invercargill, pulled the pin last July, citing consent processing delays and increased costs.

Buyer Lily Li expects to keep the motorhome park running for about three years while she plans a high-density development, which the property’s zoned for.

She says her present preference is to build an apartment hotel on the site – but she’s undecided whether to build visitor, residen-tial or worker accommodation.

The site was formerly consented for a 120-unit worker and student housing complex.

Li says she fell for Queenstown during ski trips over the past three years and decided to invest her family funds in the resort rather than anywhere else in New Zealand.

The property was put on the market through local TourismProperties.com broker Adrian Chisholm last October for $4.3m.

Chisholm, who had a number of prospective buyers, clinched the deal about a month ago.

Li is a former civil engineer and developer in Guangzhou, China, who shifted to Auckland with her family in 2008.

“She fell in love with the sound of the creek,” Chisholm says. “The bird life was all going off when she walked the site.”

The 1.25-hectare plot – home to 31 rented cabins and tent and campervan sites – was bought by Bowen Creek Investments Ltd for $2.45m in 2015.

Through Harcourts Queenstown, 32 one-, two- and three-bedroom cottages were snapped up off the plans for between $275,000 and $445,000.

When Bowen Cottages fell over, buyers were refunded their deposits but many were dismayed at losing possibly their only opportunity to get on the local property ladder.

Queenstown council’s planning boss Tony Avery said at the time it was waiting for the developer to explain how he would deal with natural hazards.

Brewery Creek caused chaos in 1999’s record flood.

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