Barnyard beaut

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Queenstown’s most upmarket barn is on the block. 

It is on a 4.9 hectare Bob’s Cove property off the Glenorchy Road which is listed for sale for $4.5 million by local internet realtor Luxury Real Estate New Zealand. 

The vendor is American billionaire Jim Covert, who originally erected the building to house some of his extensive classic car collection and other collectibles. 

Covert was on White House duty with the United States Secret Service in the 1970s under Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Since then he’s become an electronic security industry tycoon. 

In the 1990s he briefly lived at Arrowtown’s Millbrook Resort while running his Signature Security Group in Australia. 

Several years later he bought his Bob’s Cove section from neighbouring residents Sue and Pat Farry for $1.4m. 

Covert told Mountain Scene in 2004 that he’d hoped to buy more than five hectares but he’d have required Overseas Investment Office approval. 

“I don’t have a problem – I don’t want every rich American buying here,” he said. 

Besides building his two-wing barn, Covert obtained consent to erect a $5m-plus 1177sq m, six-bedroom Tuscan villa-themed home, partly inspired by the Farrys’ Punatapu lodge. 

“I don’t want it to look out of place but if I put up a small house it would look funny,” he said then. 

However the mansion – which was to include a movie theatre, gym, library and swimming pool – wasn’t built and US-based Covert has now put the whole property up for sale. 

In recent years the barn has been partly leased as an art studio by well-known artist Ivan Clarke, who lives nearby. 

Clarke, who invented the famous Lonely Dog fantasy story, last year held an exhibition in the barn. 

The building’s also been used for weddings and other events. 

Luxury Real Estate NZ co-owner Terry Spice says the $4.5m price tag is “very realistic”. 

“The barn is a really state-of-the-art building, everything’s been done to the highest quality,” he explains. 

It includes a self-contained apartment, dug-out fireplace and massive schist-paved courtyard. 

The building even has underground pits in place for car maintenance. 

Spice’s business partner Nick Horton suggests the property could suit someone with an extensive car or art collection, “who might see Queenstown as a place to retire and build a main house”. 

“Or it could have some commercial use if someone wanted to set up a gallery.” 

The property is surrounded by conservation estate and has access to a lakeside walking track. 

It also comes with consent for a mooring in Lake Wakatipu.