Bobby dazzler

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A Queenstowner concerned that anyone buying scenic land beside his Bob’s Cove property might over-develop it has found a solution. 

Fisherman’s Lane resident Mark Wikstrom snapped up the 41.6 hectare mortgagee land himself, along with a friend. 

The property, 12 kilometres from Queenstown, comprises 15 house sites on the top side of Glenorchy Road and 29ha of bush-surrounded land on the lake side of the road. 

The 29ha parcel was earmarked for up to 96 house lots by previous owner Bobs Cove Ltd. 

However this company – associated with now-bankrupt developers John Reid and father and son Dan and Kelly McEwan – went belly-up, owing financiers almost $20 million. 

Wikstrom bought the property, for an undisclosed price, in conjunction with Picton-based Janine Twose. 

Twose’s former partner, Wellington businessman Glen Johnston, who died in a tragic accident two years ago, was Wikstrom’s best friend. 

“Glen, when he visited, always used to say, ‘I’m going to buy this property and build a great big house beside you which will be bigger than yours and piss you off for the rest of your life’,” Wikstrom says. 

Wikstrom and Twose’s property company is called Glentui Heights Ltd, in honour of Glen Johnston and Twose’s mother, whose second name is Tui. 

The pair are also using this name for their first-stage development on the top side of Glenorchy Rd. 

Wikstrom says they’ve already pre-sold seven of the 15 sections, ranging from 2500 to 4000sq m, for less than $300,000 each. 

“It’s the best value in the Basin,” he says. 

“Where can you get sections like that that look out over the lake and a beautiful cove, at that size, for that money?” 

Wikstrom expects at least three house builds to start before Christmas. 

He and Twose also plan to build a display home. 

Wikstrom says the other eight sections will be marketed in the next month or two, possibly for higher asking prices. 

The new owners aren’t in a hurry to develop the balance of their property, however. 

“We’re talking a 20-year project,” Wikstrom says. 

“We’re going to work with the council to bring that development right back, probably to less than 30 sections, so we can keep the bush. 

“We’ll keep the gun trees and the kilns – the property would have had to be clear-felled to fit in 96 sections.” 

Reid and the McEwans had also planned resort facilities in their Bob’s Cove Nature Reserve like a hotel, restaurant, bar, gym and indoor swimming pool. 

Wikstrom says he and Twose are more likely to build just a lodge, for residents’ use. 

Another amenity for property owners will be a 20m 1875 boat, The Queen of Beauty, which the pair are restoring. 

Wikstrom adds there’s a nice local link to their property buy. 

His wife Tracy is the granddaughter of the Jardines who formerly owned Queenstown’s Kelvin Heights. 

“My grandparents, when they were dating, used to catch the barge from town to Bob’s Cove,” Tracy says. 

Her grandparents sold their land to Kelvin Heights’ original developer, John Reid. 

Wikstrom comments: “Now we’ve managed to buy Bob’s Cove back off John Reid and put a Jardine back into Queenstown.”