$18.5m land grab

Hotels needed: Queenstown

In a market critically short of visitor accommodation, a Singaporean family company plans to build two tourist hotels in central Queenstown.

Well Smart Group, a hospitality real estate investment and development company, last month bought a 5101 square metre hotel development site on Thompson Street, behind the Rydges hotel.

It was on the market for at least $9.5 million.

“It was purchased for a hotel development and initial studies show it could accommodate up to 200 hotel rooms,” local Colliers International tourism broker Barry Robertson says.

Last year, Well Smart Group also bought a Shotover St site, beside the Crowne Plaza hotel, for $9m.

The vendor had consent for a 120-room hotel, including ground and first-floor retail.

Following the purchase of extra land at the corner of Man and Hay Sts, Well Smart Group is now planning a 260-room hotel.

In a press release last month, Australian-based hotel and resort operator Mantra Group announced it would manage the hotel, which would be branded Peppers Queenstown Resort.

Including a restaurant and bar, leisure facilities and carparking, it’s due to open in December 2018, the release says.

In Australia, Well Smart Group owns a 146-room Ibis hotel in the Melbourne CBD and the 85-room Mantra Terrace Hotel in Brisbane.

It’s also redeveloping a resort on Queensland’s Airlie Beach and building a 478-room hotel in Melbourne.

Robertson says the company’s plans are good news for Queenstown.

“There’ve been a lot of hotel sites sold over the last couple of years and not many have got to the design-and-build stage.

“This is a company that has a track record of designing and building and owning hotels.”