Upsize me: hotel plans expand


A developer has upsized plans for a $50 million downtown Queenstown hotel complex to meet the resort’s critical shortage of tourist accommodation.

Long-time local Lew Gdanitz is now proposing a 202-room hotel on his prime 3000 square metre site bordering Shotover Street, Stanley St, Gorge Road and the main council offices.

Gdanitz - who’s also planning an upmarket food hall and 60-seat cinema on the ground floor - floated a 110-room hotel late last year.

The original complex, designed by renowned local architect John Blair, provided two floors of accommodation over ground-floor retail with an internal courtyard and 52 underground carparks.

But a report by the council’s urban design panel “suggested that the site was so special that we could well consider increasing the height of the building”, Blair says.

He’s now added two floors - by reducing the floor-to-floor height and adding half a floor on top.

Blair says he’s also addressed the panel’s other ideas - “opening the innards of the building out to the street rather more to show the extent of the interior atriums, and extending them in a suitable landscape manner down towards Horne Creek”.

Gdanitz, who’s seeking a joint venture partner, is delighted he can accommodate a larger hotel.

“The key driver is the major shortage of accommodation in Queenstown,” he says.

Just last week, Colliers International hotels director Dean Humphries told the National Business Review that visitors would be turned away from New Zealand’s key destinations, Queenstown and Auckland, this summer.

A decade’s failure to build new hotels was coming home to roost and the situation would only worsen over the next five years, Humphries states.

Gdanitz says he’s planning a four-and-a-half star, family-style hotel with decent-sized rooms.

He’s also planning a series of restaurants on the ground floor, along with a 60-seat cinema and possibly a small pharmacy, laundry and ski rental business.

“As soon as we get a meeting with the design review panel we will lodge it for resource consent immediately after that.”

Subject to finding investors, he’s hopeful construction will start late next year.

Mountain Scene reported last year that part of the site - presently occupied by apartments, carparking and offices - could be required for a traffic bypass linking Melbourne, Henry and Man Sts.

Council boss Adam Feeley, however, said this was only one of a number of options.