All go-go again

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Gung-ho developer slashes prices to clear high-end subdivision

While other developers pull their horns in, one Queenstown entrepreneur is confidently pitching sections from $750,000 – with most sites over $1 million.

Jim Boult has resumed marketing his 200-hectare rural lifestyle subdivision Threepwood, based on a historic farm opposite his own Lake Hayes home.

After selling the first 20 lots at mostly $1m-$1.3m, Boult’s sales programme stalled for a year after neighbour Fred van Brandenburg convinced the Environment Court that Boult’s company was breaching its resource consent.

Boult says he’s started selling again after four of six findings were overturned by the High Court.

“Some sales were cancelled because we had sunset clauses in them.”

Now on the market are the last 22 lots, plus a $4m “cottage site” tagged for the development of a luxury lodge.

If the lodge site isn’t sold, Boult will develop the lodge himself then sell it as a going concern.

All site buyers get shared ownership of Threepwood’s working farm.

Two sections for sale are in The Downs area accessed from Slopehill Road, which all but sold out last time around. The balance are on flat land known as The Green, off the Ladies Mile highway.

Boult has cut prices to meet the market, especially for four “Threepwood Select” sites – two are slashed to $750,000 from $1.5m.

This time he’s also appointed an exclusive agent, Bayleys, which successfully pitched against four other realtors.
What appealed, Boult says, is Bayleys’s international focus and “their motivated local team led by Wayne Cafe”.

Boult’s aware of “a massive amount of enquiries” since Bayleys came on board – the realtor is holding open days every Saturday and Sunday from 1pm.

The developer is bullish about selling out Threepwood despite tough economic times because when the market comes right, suddenly there’ll be a shortage of new property because so little else is being developed. he says
Threepwood’s advantages are its centrality to Queenstown and Arrowtown, the fact it fronts scenic Lake Hayes, and because resource consent for anything similar will be harder than ever in future, he reckons.

“There’ll come a time when the market realises it’s unique and unrepeatable.”

Boult estimates it will take 18-24 months to sell down Threepwood at an average of one sale a month.

Infrastructure is all in place and Boult’s company has now applied for consent for a residents’ pavilion with tennis and petanque courts.

He’s also spending $3m on ecological restoration that he hopes will revive the native Otago skink population.
Boult bought Threepwood four years ago for an undisclosed price, believed to be about $15m.

Ironically, he’d objected to original development plans by the former American owners, especially for houses on the escarpment.

In 2004, he admitted to a vested interest in making Threepwood look good: “I look out at it every morning when I have my Weeties.”

Owners have to observe strict landscaping and design requirements.

The first owners expected to start building soon are local retailing couple Judy and John Knight.