Hendo’s hole buyer in surprise deal for the rest of failed Five Mile

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The man who bought Queenstown’s infamous “Hendo’s Hole” has snapped up the remainder of the failed Five Mile site in an 11th hour deal. 

Aucklander Tony Gapes has trumped local developer David Mahoney with a $27 million offer for stage two of the Five Mile spread by Queenstown Airport. 

Mahoney – as revealed earlier by Mountain Scene – had a contract to buy the vacant 23.4ha site, on the eastern side of Grant Road, from Allied Farmers. 

However, as stage one owner, Gapes had a 10-day option to match Mahoney’s deal. Gapes made his surprise move on Monday this week. 

Mahoney, who only learned the news when flying back to town the next day, says he’s “very, very disappointed”.
“We were a long way down the track in getting a few things going.” 

Gapes can’t comment on the deal because Allied Farmers is insisting on confidentiality. 

It’s understood he won’t have to settle the deal till mid-November. 

Gapes’ company Queens-town Gateway bought Five Mile’s 7.8ha stage one site from receivers last November for $21m. 

The site includes “Hendo’s Hole”, which embattled Christchurch developer Dave Henderson dug before his plans for a $2 billion gateway township for 10,000 people fell over. 

Gapes plans refilling some of the hole, which was excavated for a two-level underground carpark. 

He is planning a retail/residential/office development on stage one including a Countdown supermarket – Countdown operator Progressive Enterprises holds the first mortgage. 

It’s not known what Gapes is planning for stage two. 

The land is still zoned as ‘rural general’, though Queenstown Lakes District Council’s Plan Change 19 – being appealed before the Environment Court in November – allows for commercial, industrial and residential uses. 

It’s thought Gapes might on-sell about eight hectares to the Ministry of Education, which is eyeing up the site for a new secondary school and possibly another primary school in the Wakatipu.