Former brothel site still used for something that goes bump in night

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As if Queenstown’s outdoor thrills aren’t scary enough, an indoor attraction promises visitors their most terrifying experience ever. 

A transplanted English family this week gained building consent to convert upstairs premises in Shotover Street – a former brothel site – into a haunted house to be called Fear Factory Queenstown. 

The attraction is the brainchild of Simon Smith, 27, who’s worked as a mountain bike guide, ski instructor and Shotover Jet bus driver since arriving in 2004. 

Smith, joined by parents Viv and Andy in the business, says: “We’re challenging people to come on through and experience something that really is genuinely scary. 

“It’s a totally different type of scary to a bungy or a skydive. 

“It’s basically overloading your senses – there’s nothing really in New Zealand like it, or in the southern hemisphere. We want people to be as scared as they’ve ever been.” 

The Smiths don’t want to reveal much more except the first challenge is to step through a creaky big red door. 

Local photography business Magic Memories will be snapping startled visitors, they say. 

Anyone too frightened to carry on can stop and scream ‘fear factory’. 

“We’re going to have a running list of the amount of people that chicken out,” Simon says. 

They won’t reveal the fitout cost but entry is $29. It’s due to open early June. 

The 450sq m premises they’ve leased above the Westpac building were formerly occupied by a law firm, a brothel and a church – in that order. 

There’ll be access from both Beach and Shotover Sts.