Despite a dearth of commercial development in the Wakatipu, a precinct is about to spring up in Arrowtown.
Bush Creek Investments is dusting off seven-year-old plans for the Postmaster’s Precinct.
It features 500 square metres of floor space behind two historic Buckingham Street buildings – The Postmaster’s Residence restaurant and the Post Office.
The $1.5 million two-level complex, off Arrow Lane and Wiltshire Street, comprises three upstairs offices and, most likely, ground-floor retail and restaurant/bar tenancies.
The plans were first floated by former property owner Guy Evatt, who restored The Postmaster’s Residence building before selling up about five years ago.
Bush Creek Investments director, Queenstowner Chris James, says the plan remains similar to Evatt’s but without a basement.
James, 63, says he’s already had interest from prospective tenants.
“There’s no empty space in Arrowtown, it’s full commercially.”
Rental levels would be “very reasonable”, he says, ranging between $250 and $350 per square metre.
He’s commissioned Cook Brothers Construction, which opened in Queenstown last year, to build the complex.
Work will start with a small retaining wall to hold up Arrow Lane.
The job should take nine months with the complex open by Christmas, James says.
Materials will be weatherboard, iron and stone.
“It’s a very low-key construction – people build bigger houses,” says James, who’s got a 600sq m home on the go at Queenstown’s Jack’s Point resort.
“It’s a little development which is more sustainable than a big development.
“It’s going to be good for the town, good for Arrow Lane and way better than growing weeds.”
Bush Creek Investments – which James holds with Dunedin partners Tony Clear, Philip Dey and Greg Paterson – also owns a small industrial estate on Arrowtown’s Bush Creek Road.
The site is slated for a small shopping centre, including a supermarket, though it’s some way off.
James also owns The Stables restaurant and adjacent properties in Arrowtown.
“It’s the coolest little town in the world,” he says.