Empire State man’s $30m eco-project


The largest owner of New York’s Empire State Building is developing something equally epic in Queenstown.

Anthony Malkin is under way with a $30 million environmentally cutting-edge project on his 49 hectare Dalefield spread.

Over the past 14 months, the New York real estate syndicator has built a two-storey manager’s residence, the Barn House, near his Littles Road entranceway, a 1.5 kilometre walking/cycle track, at the base of the cliffs, which will be vested in the Queenstown Trails Trust, and planted thousands of native plants.

Malkin’s also made a donation to the trails trust.

Local developer David Broomfield, who sold Malkin the property, says the project is amazing.

“There’s money that’s going into the development that no local person could have contributed to the district.

“There’s four years of work there for roughly 20 people.”

The walkway, featuring interpretation panels, runs the length of the property and is a great public asset, he says.

A driveway’s been formed to Malkin’s main home, the Saddle House, which has reached its foundation stage.

The 506 square metre home will include an indoor heated swimming pool, yoga room, study and just one bedroom.

Guests will be accommodated at the nearby five-bedroom, 531sq m Pond House, which will be built next.

The roofs of both the Saddle House and Pond House will be covered in earth and vegetation.

Both solar heating and ground source heating will be employed. Mountain Scene understands 19 heating boreholes have been dug 120m-deep into solid rock.

A resource consent application was also lodged last month for 36 solar panels on the paddock beside the Barn House.

In 2008, Malkin’s company Redemption Song LLC - named after a Bob Marley hit - received Overseas Investment Commission approval to buy the property, noted for its dramatic rocky bluffs, for $4.5m.

In return, he promised to make the property available as “a physical classroom” for educating Otago Polytechnic students, and other interested parties.

Forty-five hectares will be transferred to a charitable trust and native vegetation and wetlands will be restored. Commissioners called the project’s environmental aspects “truly exceptional”.

It’s understood Malkin was first attracted to the property because his wife Shelly is a keen rock climber.

Malkin’s family has had a major interest in the 102-storey Empire State Building, once the world’s tallest building, since 1961.