A $125 million Frankton shopping centre could open by Christmas next year after a legal challenge was withdrawn this week.
The 23,000sq m Five Mile centre – on the site of ‘Hendo’s Hole’, off State Highway 6 – was granted resource consent last August.
However rival Frankton Flats developer Shotover Park Ltd – headed by Alastair Porter – argued the consent should have been notified for public submissions and sought a High Court judicial review.
Five Mile developer Queenstown Gateway, Shotover Park and the local council settled the matter, on confidential terms, last weekend.
The case had been due to start in the High Court in Invercargill on Monday.
Queenstown Gateway owner, Aucklander Tony Gapes, says he’s delighted the costly dispute is over: “It’s good for us and good for Queenstown.
“We’re hoping to start on-site in the next four to eight weeks. We’ve got building consent for our earthworks.
“We need to get a resource consent for a small part of that but most of the earthworks we can start with straightaway and that includes filling the hole.
“The first three to four months are just filling in the two-thirds of the hole that we’re not using.”
The 2.4 hectare hole, known locally as ‘Hendo’s Hole’, was excavated for a two-level carpark by former owner Dave Henderson in 2006.
Henderson’s company was placed in receivership before he could pursue his township development, and the site has remained an eyesore ever since.
Gapes – who’s building a much smaller basement carpark – bought the total 7.8ha site in 2009 for $21m.
Gapes says his seven-building complex will be built in two stages.
An $80m, 15,000sq m first stage will include a 4200sq m Countdown supermarket and associated retail including a bank, sports store, homeware store, shoe store, stationary/book shop and food outlets.
About 70 per cent of the first stage tenants have been signed up, Gapes says.
“Virtually every retailer we’ve got signed up is new to Queenstown, which I think is important – we’re not dragging tenants out of the centre of town and we’re not dragging them out of [Porter’s] Remarkables Park.
Gapes adds: “This is very much aimed towards the locals. We’re hoping to be open by Christmas 2014.”
Meanwhile, Gapes says the out-of-court settlement didn’t involve his sister company Queenstown Central withdrawing an appeal against Shotover Park’s Pak ‘N’ Save supermarket and Mitre 10 Mega hardware store.
Following appeals by Queenstown Central and the local council, the High Court recently overturned Environment Court decisions allowing the stores to proceed.
The court directed those cases be reheard by the Environment Court taking into account recent Plan Change 19 decisions on Frankton Flats.
Queenstown Central owns the 23.4ha balance of Henderson’s former Five Mile land on the other side of Grant Road.