Worker housing almost ready to roll

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It’s taken three years, millions of dollars and a fair bit of stress.

But one of the first dedicated group staff accommodation complexes in Queenstown is nearly ready to go to market.

The four purpose-built units each have eight bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a large communal lounge/kitchen/dining room – not to mention collectively more than 300 power points and 148 USB ports.

Developer Simon Haslett doesn’t see himself as a developer at all.

He’s worked as a real estate broker but most people now know him as a school bus driver, taking 100 primary school kids to school each day for a little over minimum wage.

“I was fortunate enough to buy a property a few years back capable of a comprehensive development,” he says.

“But instead of building as many units or Airbnb properties as possible, I decided to tackle one of Queenstown’s most pressing problems, being staff or worker accommodation.

“What I find is if you set out to do good things, then good things come of it. I’m just trying to help the town.”

Several worker accommodation complexes have been mooted for the town, but few have come to fruition.

Each unit is about 180sqm.

They’ve been built by Genius Homes down south, then trucked up to the site, near a creek on the other side of the road from The Sherwood, over the last three months.

The complex is in its final stages of completion, with a driveway due to go down this week, and will be ready to be rented long-term in the first week of November.

“We’re aiming to let each unit to a single entity, rather than room-by-room.

“So large tourism businesses, hotels – I know of one hotel which is actually putting up staff in another hotel, that’s how bad the situation is.”

Unlike much of the resort’s rental stock, the properties are well insulated, with heap pumps, and modern fixtures, fittings.

Mountain Property Management Queenstown is managing the properties.

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz