A $125 million masterplan replacing the excavation eyesore dubbed “Hendo’s Hole” at Queenstown’s entranceway can be unveiled.
Auckland developer Tony Gapes this week lodged his application for the masterplan of stage one – to the west of Grant Road.
It includes space for what’s being tipped as Queenstown’s largest supermarket, an entertainment hub of bars, restaurants and cinema complex plus retail outlets.
The complex planned for the Frankton Flats is mainly single-storey with some two- and three-storey areas, he says.
To understand the masterplan, think “precincts around a big central carpark”, Gapes explains.
A “bulk retail” precinct of up to seven large spaces – such as sports, furniture and homeware stores – will be anchored by a 4200 square metre Countdown supermarket, Queenstown’s biggest.
Countdown operator Progressive Enterprises – which also operates Queenstown’s Fresh Choice supermarket – part-funded Gapes’s entry into Five Mile last November.
A further precinct of 40-50 mainly fashion and food stores is planned in an enclosed mall based around a two-level department store.
The entertainment precinct will feature restaurants, bars, movie theatres and possibly a bowling alley.
Total space in the completed development will come to 38,000 sq m.
A weekend Farmers’ Market will feed off the adjoining Events Centre, pool complex Alpine Aqualand and sports fields.
Gapes paid $48m for the 31-hectare Five Mile site, which covers both sides of Grant Road. At the time, it was in the hands of receivers and financiers of failed companies associated with embattled Christchurch developer Dave Henderson.
Henderson had planned to build a new township with capacity for 10,000 people.
The deal also includes the so-called “Hendo’s Hole” and its 667-space underground carpark with another 449 spaces above – with 153 off-site.
In a deal with Queenstown Lakes District Council, Gapes is building a spectator pavilion on Events Centre land.
Gapes hopes to start early next year on the supermarket and bulk retail precinct, with the majority of Five Mile open by the end of 2011.
Yes, there’s demand, Gapes says.
“There have been a lot of retailers looking at getting into Queenstown for the last three or four years [who are] looking for a high-profile, well-located development.
“There will be a lot of Australian retailers you’ve never seen in Queenstown before.”
Like Alastair Porter – the developer of nearby Remarkables Park shopping area – Gapes says Five Mile is “very much aimed towards the local Queenstown resident”.
“We see the centre of Queenstown becoming the tourist hub … and our development becoming the locals’ shopping centre.”
The masterplan includes 50-100 serviced apartments pitched at visitors, however.
Despite a total built cost of around $125m, Gapes hopes to retain freehold ownership after leasing out all the space.
The developer has worked with QLDC’s urban design panel for eight months.
The process was “quite painful” sometimes, Gapes says, but he feels the panel has helped him create a much better development.