Battle for Frankton Flats

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Rival developers of Frankton retail hubs are in a verbal clash – with one saying the other’s plans are “not realistic”. 

Alastair Porter, developer of the existing Remarkables Park retail centre and subdivision, is trading potshots with Auckland developer Tony Gapes. Gapes has unveiled plans for a nearby $125 million retail complex to replace the Five Mile excavation eyesore. 

Porter claims the speed Gapes is planning to construct his Five Mile project is “not realistic” and also accuses Gapes of trying to poach tenants. 

“And no doubt [Gapes] is talking to some of the people in town. We don’t poach, never have. We’re about growing Queenstown,” Porter says. 

“Nobody can think that there’s an enormous pent-up demand. If there was, you can be assured we would have provided for them at Remarkables Park.” 

Porter adds: “We don’t consider we’ve ever been responsible for any store closing downtown, and we haven’t approached downtown stores suggesting they relocate.” 

Gapes says he’s no poacher – and that out-of-town retailers have been waiting three or four years for “a high-profile, well-located development”. 

“We haven’t talked to anyone in Remarkables Park or in the CBD.” 

Gapes also finds it curious that Porter announced expansion plans a week after Gapes unveiled his $125m project. 

“We’ve been aware that Alastair’s suddenly sprung into action. Obviously we’ve been the catalyst for that,” Gapes says. 

In Mountain Scene two weeks ago, Gapes revealed plans to start construction early next year on a 38,000sq m centre – including a 4200sq m supermarket – and have the bulk of it complete 12 months later in early 2012. 

A week later, Porter announced new expansion at Remarkables Park and for Glenda Drive’s Shotover Park – including an even bigger 6000 sq m supermarket. 

Such verbal skirmishes are nothing new for Porter, who has overseen development of 27,000sq m of floor space at Remarkables Park during the past 10 years. 

Back in March, 2007, Porter clashed with then-Five Mile developer Dave Henderson – who had hoped to build a 10,000-person town. Henderson accused Porter of talking down his project, saying: “I’m sick of the mother…..”