$45m hotel plan

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Developers are seeking consent for a 110-room hotel and retail complex in downtown Queenstown despite a possible council claim to their land. 

Long-time Queenstowner Lew Gdanitz and his business partner Victor Cheng, of Christchurch, are proposing the $45 million complex. 

It’s designed by award-winning local architect John Blair on a plum 3000sq m site bordered by Stanley and Shotover Streets and Gorge Road, adjacent to the main council offices. 

Gdanitz says the development meets a pent-up demand for more hotel rooms and retail space. 

The proposal, however, potentially challenges council roading and zoning policies. 

Part of the site – occupied by carparking, apartments and offices – could be needed for a bypass between Melbourne, Henry and Man Sts to relieve CDB congestion. 

Council agreed this year to delay the Henry-Man St link till at least 2040. 

Gdanitz says: “Land owners should not be expected to wait 25 years to find out whether the council might want to take their land.” 

The council’s controversial plan change 50 proposal doesn’t include their land.

The potential hotel site is zoned ‘high density residential’. 

Gdanitz stresses his proposed development isn’t a ploy to get council to buy the land. 

“They could knock down their own council chambers and put a road through there – that’s a lot cheaper option than buying my land.” 

Asked his reaction to the proposal, council boss Adam Feeley say he can’t comment without prejudicing the application, “so we won’t”. 

As for the bypass project, “there are a number of possible options for rerouting traffic which includes a possible route alongside the Queenstown Memorial Centre. 

“It’s too early in that process to say which will be the preferred route or when it will happen. 

“However, in the new year council will be considering the wider town centre transport strategy, which is likely to include consideration of routes for inner CBD traffic and bypass traffic.” 

Gdanitz describes the Man St bypass as “completely ridiculous”. 

He says it would cost tens of millions of dollars. 

“If you want to control the traffic, control it with traffic lights and slow it down.” 

Meanwhile, he says his new complex comprises hotel rooms on the top two floors, 1200sq m of ground floor retail and an internal courtyard. 

He adds there’ll also be 52 underground carparks, even though there’s no planning requirement for parking. The complex also won’t affect neighbours’ views, he says, and nicely complements the Crowne Plaza hotel at the opposite end of Shotover St. 

Gdantiz’s submission to plan change 50 said his site and others nearby “present a much more logical and natural extension of the town centre than much of what is proposed”. 

The council, he added, discussed rezoning the land ‘town centre’ in planning documents in 2009 and 2012. 

Gdanitz says the site’s “right on the town centre boundary, it’s got public carparking right beside it, it’s got a lot of people walking past, it’s on main roads and it’s been used, including by the council, for commercial purposes already”.

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