Fast start for fast-tracked village

Clearing: Sanderson Group is 'pushing hard' along Ladies Mile

Having gained fast-tracked approval for his Queenstown old folks’ home, developer Fraser Sanderson’s not letting the grass grow under his feet.

As those driving the Ladies Mile highway can see, the Tauranga-based retirement village operator is already moving dirt for his Queenstown Country Club, which he estimates will cost up to about half a billion dollars to build.

His Sanderson Group Ltd only received his final resource consent last week, but Sanderson expects to start building the first 24 homes within two weeks, for completion by Christmas.

“Then we’ll be progressively starting more as we go through the year,” he says.

“There’s such a demand out there, we’re really pushing as hard as we can.”

Occupying 52 hectares from Ladies Mile towards the Kawarau River, the village will comprise 235 two- and three-bedroom homes, 97 apartments and rest home, hospital and dementia-care facility for 80 people, which Sanderson hopes to start building late this year.

There are also plans for a clubhouse, medical centre, pharmacy, boutique shops, cafe, restaurant, gym and spa.

For the 120 staff employed in the care centre, there’ll also be a childcare facility.

Huge demand: Queenstown Country Club homes

Invercargill-born-and-raised Sanderson says there was concern he’d mainly attract out-of-town retirees.

Of his $80 million in pre-sales, however, he notes more than 80 per cent of buyers live locally.

The Green Party’s criticised the government for approving his village and another in Arrowtown as fast-tracked special housing areas under legislation to free up housing supply.

Sanderson argues locals selling up to move into Queenstown Country Club are doing just that.

He’s also adamant he’s providing affordable living by offering two-bedroom homes from $735,000.

“It’s very hard to buy a home in Queenstown, even in [entry-level] Shotover Country, for under $775,000, and we’re providing that.”

The architecturally-designed homes will also be high-spec, including underfloor heating and gas heating.

Sanderson hopes the community will integrate more into the village than is often the case with other complexes.

Many facilities will also be open to the public – “there’s no way we could have our own medical centre, for instance, just for the number of homes we have there”.

Sanderson expects the village to take about six years to build, with up to 150 workers on site at any one time. His company’s currently in the midst of a big recruitment drive for workers.

There’ll be on-site accommodation for about 60 workers, including a dining room and lounge.

Along the Ladies Mile frontage, Sanderson’s also committed to undergrounding the power lines, planting a promenade of trees and putting in a cycleway.