Hill goes to ground on luxury homes

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Arrowtown mega-jeweller Michael Hill reckons anyone planning a major development in the Wakatipu “needs rocks in their head”. 

As a result, the multi-millionaire businessman this week says he’s put ambitious plans for 17 luxury underground homes on his 200ha backyard golf course on hold. “No one’s spending any money, so if we build a home, who the hell’s going to buy it?” 

Mountain Scene revealed his plans for 17 bunker homes around his golf course – venue for the past three New Zealand Opens – in 2007. Eighty per cent of each dwelling would be underground, echoing his award-winning clubhouse, with roofs covered in turf, pebbles or tussock. 

Hill got planning consent last June for what he’s called his “world-beating” 367sq m to 700sq m homes. 

“I was going to build a couple [to start with] but to build a couple you’re spending a few million dollars – what’s the point? 

“I’m just going to hang on, just wait – I might wait quite a while.” 

Under his consent, Hill’s homes are forbidden “the normal trappings of domes­ticity such as trampolines, spa pools and so forth”.