Mystery buyer reveals $100m complex

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The mystery buyer of a prime Queenstown site has stepped forward to unveil plans for a $100 million cutting-edge hotel and residential village. 

Arrowtown architect Maurice Orr is the undisclosed party who last month paid $3.1 million for a steep hillside plot beside the Rydges Lakeland hotel. 

Orr’s applying for resource consent for a 10-level, 200-unit accommodation complex on the site between Lake Esplanade and Thompson Street. 

The hotel’s inspired by and named after Orr’s favourite medieval village in the south of France, St Paul de Vence.
Designed in collaboration with international award-winning Auckland architect Richard Naish, it features glacial, snow and ice-like imagery. 

“We want it to be a phenomenal building inspired by the incredible grandeur of the region which was in turn carved out by glaciers. There’s a series of boxes that look like a great glacial morraine cascading down,” Orr says. 

About 80 per cent of the units will have expansive lake/mountain views enhanced by three-metre-deep terraces and possibly infinity spa pools. 

“Many developments in this area have not understood that when people come here from overseas, they come here for the view,” Orr says. 

Of the other 20 per cent, Orr adds some units will have views of the neighbouring reserve and others will overlook an internal street. 

Unit owners can live in their rooms full-time, let them out for hotel use or do a combination of both. 

The majority of units would be two-bedroom in the $300,000-$400,000 price range. 

“We’re also looking for ways to make the units look more spacious,” Orr says. 

“Some might argue that the density’s high but to create the village atmosphere you need a sense of community.” 

Hotel facilities like cafes and restaurants would face Thompson St at the top of the site, by the main entrance, Orr says. 

Orr, whose development company is Heaven and Earth Corporation, hopes the complex gains a non-notified consent because it’s designed within district plan guidelines. 

“We’re hopeful to put together ideally a local-based team of investors who’ve got a real interest in creating a quality product. We’ve got to remember this is a big project and will be staged and could possibly take up to nine years.” 

Orr’s practised for 30 years in the Wakatipu and designed many local commercial buildings. 

His Queenstown works include the Bonz building down The Mall, initial designs for St Moritz Hotel and the Anglican Church’s Earl Street building, the Brecon St restaurant/bar precinct spearheaded by Lone Star and a 17-unit apartment complex in Hallenstein St, now under construction. 

In Arrowtown he designed the urban design award-winning Saffron/Dorothy Browns Cinema complex.
Auckland partner Naish designed that city’s international award-winning Ironbank office building and won a World Architecture Festival category – for a Wanaka house project last year. 

Locations agent Chris Campbell, who brokered the sale, said last week the site plan could revolutionise the market short-term as it reflects the real estate economy is back in development mode.