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Deal clinched: Colliers broker James O'Hagan, left, with Rob Neil, whose Safari Group's just bought this development site on the corner of Hallenstein and York Streets

By PHILIP CHANDLER

A noted Queenstown apartment developer plans to build luxury residential product on a prominent site it’s bought near the CBD.

Rob Neil’s Safari Group’s acquired the 3276 square metre site — comprising four parcels on the corner of Hallenstein and York Streets — from Lambton Quay Properties.

Last year the Wellington-based company bought the site from Aussie developer Lachlan
Francis’ CSF Trustees, which was placed in liquidation, owing $4.2 million-plus to 18
unsecured creditors, after failing to build a 16-unit apartment complex called Freshwater.

More recently, Francis tried to build a similar-looking 23-unit complex called The Mont Blanc.

His company also had plans for a 24-unit development, Watermark, at 1 York St, but its resource consent was struck out by the High Court.

In Queenstown, Safari Group’s built Ramada, Wyndham Gardens and La Quinta hotels at Remarkables Park, and Ramada Queenstown Central.

It’s also successfully sold individual units in all four complexes.

Local Colliers agent James O’Hagan, who knew Neil, approached him about the Hallenstein St/York St property in June last year, considering him ‘‘one of the few parties I think would actually make this site work’’.

O’Hagan, joined by Wellington-based Colliers colleague Richard Findlay, says it was a challenging deal to clinch.

‘‘Vacant sites offering this scale of development in the CBD are rare,’’ he adds.

Neil won’t comment on what he’s paying, but says ‘‘we bought it in a competitive market’’.

He’s planning, once he resubdivides the site to make development easier, a complex of up to 30 apartments, plus a row of seven to eight town houses above it.

‘‘It will be quite spectacular and add to this area.’’

Though aimed at the luxury residential market, it could also take visitor accommodation,
Neil says.

He hopes to bring something to the market in the next couple of months, and will also talk to existing Freshwater and Mont Blanc purchasers.

‘‘I think by mid-next year we’ll be under way, maybe a little earlier.’’

He’s expecting completion by late 2023.

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