Rees Residences restart


After a frustrating two-year delay, the building of nine luxury lakeside residences in front of a five-star Queenstown hotel is full steam ahead.

Work on the first of five freehold-titled villas below The Rees Hotel ground to a halt when American developer Michael Thomas encountered problems - now resolved – gaining titles and easements.

Following the recent resumption of work, the five 224 square metre villas should be finished by the end of October.

Building then starts on an elevated block of four penthouse apartments, to the west, with an expected completion date next spring.

Construction work’s being project-managed by Queenstown-based ex-All Blacks coach Laurie Mains.

The villas, one retained by Thomas, were sold off the plan for between $1,295,000 and $1,525,000 and the 169sq m apartments were sold for between $1,325,000 and $1,415,000.

All owners are putting their residences in The Rees management pool, giving Queenstown necessary extra high-end accommodation.

The villas, at least, are likely to be rented out for more than $1000-a-night. Owners all have the option, however, of staying in them for up to six months a year.

Invest Queenstown director Simon Green says The Rees is the resort’s first managed apartment complex to not only recover to, but exceed the prices that were paid at the top of the last property cycle.

A front-row three-bedroom apartment at The Rees now fetches about $1 million, compared to the original “mid-$700,000s to $900,000s” paid before the hotel opened in 2009.

“Even at those prices, they’re still netting to their owners more than five per cent, depending on the [apartments’] configurations.”

Green says it’s a credit to the hotel’s design, quality build and excellent management, as well as Queenstowner Ed Cruikshank’s bespoke furniture packages.

The original architect Kerry Avery has also designed The Residences at The Rees to blend in with the hotel’s design, while Cruikshank, joined by Sydney-based Kiwi Simon Carmody, has again designed the furniture packages.