Fast-track fix hits speed bump

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Queenstown’s council has given fast-tracked approval for a $30 million-plus, 143-unit worker housing complex in the resort.

But developer New Ground Capital has hit a wall – or rather, a cliff face.

The company, spearheaded by Queenstowner Roy Thompson, lodged a resource consent application for two six-storey buildings just two months ago.

They’re proposed on the former Carters building supplies site, within the recently approved Gorge Road ‘special housing area’.

Thompson says he happy to have received a resource consent “within a reasonably short period of time” – that now needs ratifying by Housing Minister Nick Smith.

“The council are really constructive and helped us through the process.”

However, because New Ground Capital is 70 per cent Australian-owned, and because the site adjoins the council’s Queenstown Hill reserve – in the shape of a cliff face – the proposal will also require Overseas Investment Office approval.

Thompson says he doesn’t want to apply to the OIO, saying the process is too long and too expensive.

“We haven’t got the time to do that.”

Instead, he plans to refinance the project.

The OIO, in this circumstance, allows a maximum 24.9 per cent overseas shareholding.

So Thompson plans to look within the country for capital to make up the other 75 per cent.

According to the resource consent decision, New Ground Capital plans 143 one-bedroom units, each with kitchenette and bathroom, ranging from 24.5 square metres to 54sq m.

The application says the target market will be “short- and medium-term workers staying in Queenstown for six months to three years”, who are mainly employed in the tourism, construction and hospitality industries.

Following a report from the council’s urban design panel, the road-side building will be set back three metres from the adjacent Northern Southland site, increasing the size of the courtyard.

As a result, off-street parking will reduce from 87 to 79 spaces.

scoop@scene.co.nz