Frankton centre’s new look, location


A Frankton developer is about to resubmit plans for a $25 million-plus Queenstown convention centre.

And they’re looking around for development partners – including, possibly, the local council or the government.

Remarkables Park Ltd today unveils an eye-catching new design, which can cater for up to 1400 delegates, and a new location.

While progress remains stalled on the council’s controversial proposed centre in central Queenstown, Remarkables Park says its facility could potentially open in 2018.

Consent is expected to be lodged in a few weeks.

The developer originally applied for a 900-delegate convention centre two years ago.

But the proposal was put on hold while preparing plans, released six months ago, for a $50m gondola from Remarkables Park to The Remarkables skifield.

To fit in with the gondola base station, it’s moving the centre 300 metres south, close to the Kawarau River, and rotating 90 degrees.

Dunedin-based architects Mason & Wales have also revised the exterior design, in particular, which Remarkables Park boss Alastair Porter describes as contemporary and striking.

“It draws the Remarkables mountains into the facility through tall floor-to-ceiling glass panels, and from the outside the glass will provide a dramatic reflection of the mountains.”

Porter says stage one - estimated to cost $25m to $35m to build - can accommodate various configurations including 700 plenary delegates and 500 banqueting in adjacent areas or up to 1400 conferencing in the main hall.

There’ll also be separate foyer and exhibition spaces. Stage two would add more than 60 per cent capacity, plus more breakout spaces, and still leave room for further expansion, with outdoors spaces available for large events.

Porter says Remarkables Park will underwrite the project but is looking for other private partners or even public ones like local or central government.

The local council plans to spend more than $30m on its own centre and has asked the government for $16.2m.

“We think we’re the most likely [convention centre] at the moment,” Porter says.

He’s also after an operator to manage the centre and hopes the development will be approved without public notification.

Porter: “We expect the centre will strongly appeal to conference organisers in terms of its iconic views, convenient location, close proximity to hotels and retail, and for its ability to leverage the Queenstown gondola for access to Queenstown Park Station and the striking new large NZSki base building on The Remarkables, which will also be able to host conference activities in late spring, summer and autumn.”