Quarter of a billion development


A massive $250 million-plus old folks complex is planned for Queenstown’s Ladies Mile.

And the leading retirement village operator behind it hopes it can be fast-tracked.

Mountain Scene can reveal Fraser Sanderson’s planned Queenstown Country Club comprises about 250 stand-alone homes, 60 luxury apartments and an 80-bed resthome, hospital and dementia-care facility.

The Tauranga-ite says he hopes to apply for special housing area (SHA) status in the next couple of weeks.

Sanderson’s also short-circuiting two potential complaints - by promising to provide staff accommodation and do substantial landscaping to screen the village from the main highway into Queenstown.

The village will occupy more than 30 hectares on two adjacent sites, running back from the Ladies Mile highway, across the road connecting Lake Hayes Estate and Shotover Country, all the way to the Kawarau River.

There’ll be a clubhouse including a restaurant, cafe, movie theatre, bowling green and croquet lawn, and a health spa with an indoor heated lap pool.

Sanderson, chairman of Sanderson Group, which operates upmarket retirement villages in the North Island, submitted earlier plans to the council’s proposed district plan last year.

He’s now asking the council and government to turn his newly-acquired land into an SHA, which would speed up the planning process.

Subject to approvals, he’s hoping to start development later this year, and complete the first homes by the end of next year.

Sanderson, who recently built a Queenstown holiday home, says: “There is a real shortage of high-quality retirement living options in the local area, and an even bigger shortage of resthome and hospital beds which is resulting in local residents having no choice but to leave the area they called home for many years.”

Former local mayoress Lorraine Cooper welcomes the Sanderson Group’s commitment to including a hospital and dementia-care facility.

“That would be fabulous,” she says.

Cooper says these are expensive for a retirement village, because of the need for specialised nurses, but will stop elderly having to leave the district.

“Dementia is going to get worse and it seems to be affecting younger people too.”

Queenstown Country Club would employ about 100 staff - and they’ll provide staff accommodation “predominantly on-site and some off-site”, Sanderson says.

Substantial landscaping is planned to screen the village from the Ladies Mile highway - “we’re quite passionate about retaining that landscaped corridor” - and several walkways would be created.

Sanderson says he’s modelling the country club on his luxury Bethlehem Shores village in Tauranga, but wants to make it affordable for all.

Most homes would cost between $500,000 and $1m.

Sanderson says he’s taking expressions of interest already. An open day will be held on April 3 at Lake Hayes Estate’s Graze cafe from 10am till 3pm.

Queenstown’s council has already recommended the government approve an SHA for a retirement village for up to 300 people south of Arrowtown.

Sanderson’s not worried about potential competitors.

“We’re going to need three retirement villages.”

He says initial plans are the village will be developed over several stages over five years.