Apartments to splash at Remarks Park


Queenstown developer Alastair Porter says between 3000 and 4000 apartment units could be built within Remarkables Park.

Remarkables Park boss Porter yesterday announced construction of the new 81-apartment Wyndham Hotel and a 55-apartment residential development, by Safari Group, would likely begin in March.

The residential units would be offered for sale when completed.

He is also in negotiations with “quite a number of parties” for residential development, primarily focused on the rental market.

Porter told the Otago Daily Times the land-owning company wants to develop rental properties, catering, in part, to tertiary students and staff at Remarkables Park and neighbouring developments.

The company doesn’t believe building affordable housing and selling it to the market, below market price, is a sustainable approach.

“It’s affordable for the first buyers.”

Porter says there’s a possibility the company would seek to breach the height limit to “get more density in”, allowing more apartments to be built within Remarkables Park’s so-called town centre zone.

“We haven’t done that before, so I’d be interested to see what the council thinks, but since they’re keen on affordability, I would hope that they’d welcome it.”

Porter says Remarkables Park was probably one of the first to make that mistake’ when it sold sections for about 100 single-family homes for between $70,000 and $85,000.

Those same sections are now worth up to $400,000.

“We’re delighted that the people who bought it off us have done so well out of it … but we cannot afford to keep doing that.”

The company has turned its attention to selling land to sub-developers for apartment blocks, with a covenant over the land to protect units from being sold.

The apartment complexes would possibly be managed by the sub-developers, he says.

“We’ve got at least three groups of people – I just spoke to one about five minutes ago – who are very keen.

“I’m not telling you it’s easy, but rental accommodation does have good cash flow, so we’re very keen on that.”

While Queenstown’s council has mooted taxing land bankers, Porter says that wouldn’t help the resort’s housing issues.

“We could develop all of this land at Remarkables Park if we wanted to, just by selling it off as single family homes and we would be pushed to get in, probably, 400 houses if we did that.

“If we develop it into apartments we could get, as I say, three to four thousand.”

Porter says the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust is interested in being given land by his company but “the trust aren’t the only people who can do affordable housing”.

“Look, I absolutely commend them for the work that they’re doing, but that formula doesn’t work for us.

“We don’t want to do affordable that’s being sold, but not affordable to be owned.”

Remarkables Park’s move was welcomed last night by Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay, who told the ODT it would be a “fantastic addition” to the Wakatipu.

He says it’s likely many in the community would welcome efforts to regulate future use of apartments, which would go some way to providing certainty for employers and staff.

Otago Daily Times