A slice of hillside heaven

An artist's impression of QT Hill's Strata Apartments

The developers of a local boutique hotel are selling four $2 million-plus Queenstown Hill apartments off the plans.

Strata Apartments are designed to step up a steep, vacant site at 33 Belfast Terrace.

The developer is Christchurch-based Mulwood Investments, whose directors are Peter Smith and John Mulholland.

They developed the 19-room Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel, beside the Recreation Ground, in 2007, selling it about eight months ago for about $8m.

Smith says they also bought Belfast Terrace about 10 years ago.

“The market wasn’t there at all for it.”

About a year ago, however, they were told “it’s probably about time to give it a go”.

Smith and his partner commissioned First Light Studio to design the apartments.

“They’re some great young architects out of Wellington who I’ve used on a couple of other projects.”

He says they’ve designed “something a bit different to what’s on the hill”.

The development’s website boasts that the apartments “are set to become Queenstown’s most talked-about architectural development in the town’s recent history”.

They’re designed, it says, to “appear as if forged from the very landscape they sit upon”.

Aspects include floor-to-ceiling glazing, large open-plan interiors, timber ceilings and generous exterior terraces.

Floor areas, including terraces and basement garaging, range from 231.5 square metres to 261sq m.

Prices range from $2.2m to $2.55m.

Invest Queenstown property broker Simon Green, who’s marketing the apartments along with Arrowtown-based Luxury Real Estate New Zealand, says the design ties in beautifully with the landscape.

“You’ve got the gun barrel views down the lake, but you can actually still see up to the Remarkables, and then also you get that north face up to Ben Lomond as well.”

Buyers have the flexibility, he says, to have three bedrooms and a media room, or four bedrooms, and to have their own furniture package.

The ‘strata’ in the name refers to both the strata of schist anchors, at street level, and to the units’ strata-in-freehold status.

Owners own a share of the entire site as well as their individual apartment.

Green believes there’s a growing trend towards building more high-end boutique developments.

That’s because of the size of sites that are available, he says, as well as the amount of density that’s consentable on them.

Build times are also shorter, he adds.

He thinks the spacious living areas will suit buyers who want to spend three to four months a year there.

“But they also obviously rent really well as either a long-term rental or visitor accom-modation.”

Smith: “Simon tells me it’s more than likely to be Auckland and Australian [buyers] primarily, and I don’t disagree with that.”

Subject to two pre-sales – “just to have a level of comfort” – Smith hopes to start building this winter. He’s hoping for a 12- to 15-month build.

Smith certainly has his hands full at the moment.

He also owns Kaikoura Boutique Hotel, which “moved a bit” in November’s earthquake and is closed at the moment.

“We’re just going through the insurance assessment process at this stage.”