College’s live-in lodge

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The resort’s “tourism university” has snapped up a 63-room budget lodge to house students.

Owning Queenstown Lodge in Fernhill will help secure the future of the private tourism/hospitality school, says Queenstown Resort College boss Charlie Phillips.

He won’t reveal the price paid to Queenstown Lodge receivers but Mountain Scene understands it’s about $7 million.

Students will pay about $260 a week for twin-share rooms, including power and meals – single rooms will be $320-$340.

Those costs are comparable to university halls of residence, Phillips says, and will “remove a barrier to coming here”.

Depending on the twin/single room mix, up to 95 students will be accommodated.

Phillips expects the lodge to appeal mainly to term one and two students – currently there are 155 students at the college on 21-month hospitality management and adventure tourism courses but there’s capacity for 350.

QRC presently has head leases on several houses but they’ll be given up.

In time, the renamed QRC Lodge could house some or all of the college campus as it grows out of its central Queenstown facility, Phillips says.

“That was very much front of mind when purchasing the lodge.” The Fernhill site also includes 932sq m of undeveloped land.

When the lodge reopens for QRC’s January intake, its food operations course will relocate there.

QRC will reconfigure the lodge – taking out the spa and adding a gym, for example – after taking possession at the end of this month, but Phillips says the 1980s facility is still in good nick.

He expects the lodge to employ up to five staff, including an on-site manager.

There’ll be no curfew but the bar will probably open only one or two nights a week.

Originally called Contiki Lodge, because of its affiliation with the backpacker-tourism firm, Queenstown Lodge was bought three years ago for $13.9m by now-bankrupt Christchurch developer John Leeder.

It went into receivership last December owing $10.7m to Equitable Property Holdings and $7.3m to Dorchester Finance.

Both QRC and QRC Lodge Ltd, the company which bought the lodge, are owned by company founder and Queenstown entrepreneur Sir Eion Edgar and board member Mark Taylor, a local accountant.