$120m Queenstown shopping precinct’s green light

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A $120 million shopping centre on the Queenstown eyesore dubbed ‘Hendo’s Hole’ has the green light – and construction could start in months. 

Auckland developer Tony Gapes’ Queenstown Gateway (5M) Ltd was issued a resource consent for its Five Mile retail complex this week. 

The complex – bordered by State Highway 6, the Events Centre, Grant Road and Queenstown Airport – will comprise seven large buildings including a 4200 square metre Countdown supermarket. 

Gapes’ project will be similar in size – about 23,000sq m – to its rival Frankton Flats shopping centre Remarkables Park. 

“We would like to think that within the next eight to 12 weeks, we’ll be on site, construction-wise,” he says.
Gapes, who’s signed a construction contract with building firm Naylor Love, hopes the centre will be in business by early 2014. 

“It’s been long-winded but at the end of the day we’ve ended up with what we think is a very good result, with input from the urban design panel and council planners,” Gapes says. 

“We do not need any other consent from council, except building consents, which are just a matter of process.”
Gapes paid $21m for the 7.8 hectare site in 2009. 

Former owner Dave Henderson had dug out a 2.4ha hole for a two-level underground carpark to service his ambitious Five Mile township of 10,000 people. Henderson’s company was placed in receivership and ‘Hendo’s Hole’ – comprising the excavated site and retaining walls – has been an eyesore on Queenstown’s outskirts for the past six years. 

Gapes says he’ll fill in about two-thirds of ‘Hendo’s Hole’ for a much smaller basement carpark. 

Gapes’ retail complex will comprise buildings surrounding an internal parking area. 

An armadillo-shaped building reflecting the jagged profile and colours of the nearby Remarkables mountain range will sit on the State Highway 6/Grant Rd corner. 

Gapes says most of his retail space is spoken for, and he’s now looking at leasing upstairs office space – the resource consent also allows for visitor accommodation and a childcare centre. 

Tenancy sign-ups have happened much quicker than he expected, Gapes says. 

“We think there’ve been a lot of tenants that have been keen to get into Queenstown over the past four or five years who have not seen a viable or realistic alternative.” 

Five Mile offered the exposure and easy access they wouldn’t get at Remarkables Park, he says. 

Another Gapes company, Queenstown Central, owns the other former Five Mile site – a 23.4ha parcel on the other side of Grant Rd. 

Queenstown Central is appealing against an Environment Court decision allowing a nearby $35m Pak ‘N’ Save supermarket. 

That supermarket site is owned by the developers of Remarkables Park, the Porter Group.