Hotel planned for blue ribbon site


One of Queenstown’s oldest backpacker hostels faces demolition to make way for a major new hotel development.

Bungi Backpackers, on Stanley Street, occupies half a huge site owned by Three Beaches Ltd.

Last May, the company bought the neighbouring property, an old house on 2580 square metres of land, for a knockdown $2.8 million.

It’s applied for permission to demolish that house and has a preliminary contract to sell the whole prime site to a hotel developer.

Three Beaches’ Dunedin-based director Alistair Broad says: “Somebody wants to build a hotel there.

“But the contract is still conditional at present and we’ve agreed with the purchaser to keep it confidential.”

If it goes ahead, the backpackers’ days are numbered.

Broad says the contract could be signed and sealed relatively soon.

“That’s not to say the process of building a hotel will be rapid because to use the site of that size well, a lot of work will go into design.

“But it’s probably going to be Queenstown’s next hotel site.”

The large site, bordered by Stanley St, Sydney St and Melbourne St, is already zoned high-density.

Three Beaches, co-owned by Queenstown developer Chris James and Christchurch’s Peter Dobbs, aims to clear the vegetation and residential properties at 11 Stanley St.

The dilapidated early 1900s bungalow and ancillary buildings and the site itself belonged to the Anderson Estate.

Dr Bill Anderson had bought it in 1952, when he was Queenstown’s sole medical practitioner.

He died in 1978 but his widow Molly Anderson lived on to the grand old age of 102. She died in 1998.

Broad says there’s possibly more history to be discovered.

“There may be significant things on the site,” Broad says.

“So we’ve applied for the higher level [demolition] because it triggers recording of the building and an archeological survey.”

Broad says as it is, the house is in poor condition and might not survive being transported to a new site.

“But we’re leaving that option open.”

The rateable value of the land is almost $3.3 million.

The Bungi Backpackers itself has history. It was formerly Queenstown’s maternity hospital. It’s currently leased and operated by Sir Cedrics, which also operates Southern Laughter Backpackers and Tahuna Pod Hostel in town.