Worker apartments planned at Queenstown’s entrance

Worker saviour?: The prominent Frankton plot

Plans have emerged for another massive worker accommodation complex in Queenstown.

A fortnight ago, Mountain Scene broke news of company New Ground Capital’s plans to build digs for up to 600 workers at Remarkables Park.

Now we’ve uncovered plans for up to 350 units to be built in 10 apartment blocks beside one of the resort’s main highways.

It comes as Queenstown’s Chamber of Commerce survey details how much more businesses expect to shell out to attract and keep staff.

The ‘Junction Village’ development is earmarked for a 3.4-hectare property between Frankton’s cemetery and Hansen Road, along the Frankton-Ladies Mile Highway.

Sydney’s Nithan Thiru, director of land-owning company Staff Accommodation at Hansen Road Ltd, says he hopes building will start next year.

Thiru, an investment banker with Gleneagle Securities, says the plan still needs to be signed off by Queenstown’s council.

“We’ve done some numbers in terms of what’s feasible for us.

“I would say they’re probably going to range between 1-to-1.5-to-2 bedders and they’ll be affordable.”

He agrees that means under $500,000.

“We would love to be able to start construction next year.”

He says it “doesn’t make sense” that Queenstown workers are paying “almost tourist prices” to stay and work here.

“Which is exactly what we’re trying to tap into or provide.”

Trees have been felled at the Frankton site and the ground partially scraped. A subdivision consent application – filed by separate company Coronation Road Holdings Ltd – reveals the extent of the development.

What’s planned is “intensive worker accommodation”, Auckland urban designer Garth Falconer writes.

That could include “300-plus units in about 10 buildings of between two- to five-levels high and provide for up to 600-plus workers”.

Site development plans by top architects Mason & Wales show multi-level apartment buildings with 10 units per floor.

Rough sketches show apartments ranging in size from 20 square metres, for one-bedroom, to 60sq m for one-and-a-half bedrooms.

Coronation Road Holdings is owned by veteran Auckland developer Neville Mahon.

Companies associated with Mahon, which owned the Fiji Beach Resort & Spa, went under in 2009.

The companies owed millions to Australian and Kiwi investors, Strategic Finance – which subsequently collapsed – and an offshore bank.