Five Mile developer moves on Gorge Rd

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The developer of Queenstown’s Five Mile shopping centre has made another property play in the resort.

Auckland-based Tony Gapes has bought a vacant 1715 square metre block in central Queenstown, opposite the Caltex service station, for residential development.

The L-shaped lower Hallenstein Street site, between Pedro’s House of Lamb and Queenstown Bible Chapel, was owned by a subsidiary company of Fletcher Building and was formerly occupied by a plumbing supplies business.

It forms part of the Gorge Road special housing area (SHA), allowing fast-tracked approval for residential development up to six storeys, or 20 metres, high.

Part of the site was added to the SHA when Queenstown’s council extended the designation, earlier this year, till 2019.

Gapes, who’s had his eyes on the site for about five years, says he can’t reveal what he paid, due to a confidentiality agreement, but confirms it wasn’t cheap – “is anything in Queenstown cheap?”

Fletcher Building had drawn up plans for an apartment complex but Gapes says he won’t be using them.

“We’ve got about four different options in front of us – it’s a matter of seeing what the council likes and what works out the best for us.”

These options include apartments, townhouses and worker accommodation.

Gapes adds that any worker accommodation development is “pretty hard to fund without leases in place”.

It’s a fantastic site – beautiful views and it’s a five- to six-minute walk to town.”

It’s also surprisingly sunny considering the hill behind it, he adds.

And compared to some other Gorge Rd sites, Gapes says there aren’t any problems with the substrata – “we’ve had that all checked out”.

In an ideal world, he’s hoping to lodge a resource consent application before the end of the year and start construction next year.

The development would be the first in the council-initiated Gorge Rd SHA, which was approved by the government last year.

Another developer gained resource consent last year for a 143-unit worker accommodation complex on the former Carters building supplies site but pulled the pin because the figures didn’t stack up.

scoop@scene.co.nz