Prime Queenstown site back on sale after deal falls over

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What’s touted as downtown Queenstown’s largest development site is back on the market after its buyer failed to settle. 

The steep 7825sq m site overlooking Queenstown Bay, between Lake Esplanade and Thompson Street, was bought early this year by local architect Maurice Orr for $3.1 million. 

Orr’s development company Heaven and Earth Corporation failed to settle, however – meaning a 10 per cent deposit of $310,000 has been forfeited. 

“Funding wasn’t available to complete settlement”, Orr says. 

But he did manage to get non-notified consent for a mixed-use $100 million 300-unit ‘Ice Hotel’. 

The radical 10-level design – featuring glacial, snow and ice-like imagery – is already a future-project finalist in the World Architecture Festival Awards. 

Back in March, Orr told Mountain Scene: “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 moraine cascading down.” 

Queenstown-based Locations Realty is now running a tender for the site, closing September 26. 

Locations listing agent Chris Campbell says: “There are a few people who are extremely interested in this opportunity, given the site’s location to town, possible convention centre and consent capabilities. 

“This could potentially be the largest development seen in Queenstown in the last 10 years. 

“Consent’s now been increased from 46 units to 300, making it a far more viable economic opportunity.

Alternatively, someone could land-bank the site as a future investment opportunity as consent is valid for seven years.” 

The site was bought in 2004 for $10m by bankrupt former developer Rod Nielsen. Nielsen – who developed the 16-unit Esplanade Villas out front – was granted consent for a nine-level 46-unit apartment complex. 

Nielsen’s company was placed in receivership in 2008 before building works commenced. The site was bought in a mortgagee sale last year by Palmerston North-based Stanley Ltd for just under $3m.