Countdown to new supermarket almost over


More than 20 years after the original consent application for the Five Mile development was lodged, the first businesses are set to open.

Countdown, will officially open its doors at 9am tomorrow.

Other businesses in stage one – Rebel Sport, Briscoes, Dick Smith Electronics, Number One Shoes and Warehouse Stationery – are also due to open this month.

Countdown manager Antony Tasker says the store was blessed last week and it’s still a hive of activity as staff work around the clock to ensure it’s ready to open.

“It’s been non-stop since October 1. That’s when we were allowed to come into the store for the first time [and] we’ll be here until the late hours of Wednesday night.”

Nearly 40 staff are working in the 4200sq m building at present.

Employee numbers are nearing 100 and more will be required, Tasker says.

“We’ve tried to hire lots of locals, people who live here all the time, for certainty of ongoing employment, plus we can train and develop them.”

Tasker says it’s satisfying to finally see the national supermarket arrive in the resort.

“We’re all just looking forward to getting open … it’s become a big team effort to get it to the finish line.”

An opening ceremony will be held outside the supermarket from 7.45am, featuring a kapa haka performance and speeches from Tasker, Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden and Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay.

The first consents for the 32ha Frankton Flats site were lodged in 1993.

Ultimately, consent was granted for a shopping mall before now bankrupt property developer Dave Henderson bought the site in 2002 for $11 million, with plans to create a “new town”.

However, Henderson’s company Five Mile Holdings Ltd collapsed into receivership in July 2008, leaving the future of the development uncertain.

The following February the development was put up for mortgagee sale and was bought by Queenstown Gateways Ltd.

The first physical work on the site was filling in what was locally referred to as “Hendo’s Hole” – beginning in late 2013.

Otago Daily Times