Queenstown Airport has paid a whopping $1.28 million for a house at the end of its runway.
That’s more than twice the $600,000 rateable value of the four-bedroom house on a quarter-acre McBride Street block.
The purchase means the airport company - three-quarters owned by the local council – now owns three contiguous properties on the Frankton street, which all sit in its inner zone for aircraft noise.
Acting airport boss Mark Edghill says it’s not extending the runway - the properties will be used to test noise mitigation measures.
He doesn’t think the price for 80 McBride St is over the odds, noting the second-to-last bidder was only $1000 below.
“It was a one-off opportunity,” Edghill says.
“We get value others might not see. It is right at the end of the runway and we are in the middle of a noise mitigation programme. From our point of view it was the right thing to do.”
The houses at 80 and 82 McBride St will be used for noise testing before the project is rolled out.
Queenstown Airport is going gangbusters.
It celebrated record numbers in January with 60 plane movements in one day – 18 international and 42 domestic, three more than the previous record.
But bigger jets, arriving more often, send more noise to surrounding areas.
Thirteen homes are contained in what the airport calls an ‘inner noise’ zone, while 123 more are in a ‘mid-noise’ area.
Noise project administrator Kelly Campbell says experts have been in to assess each affected house.
The trials will determine what’s on offer - acoustic insulation, double glazing, or mechanical ventilation.
Campbell says each house is unique - a plan will be made for each.
Seven houses have already signed up and discussions are ongoing with another five households. After trials are completed work is expected to commence in June.
Airport comms boss Jen Andrews says while the project’s been budgeted for she can’t confirm the cost.
The airport’s latest annual report, released in August, says acoustic trials have already been installed in two houses - one is 82 McBride St.
“The programme will then continue in annual or two-yearly tranches for the next 20 years,” the report says.
“The company estimates approximately 380 properties will be offered noise mitigation by 2037.”