After two false starts, construction of Queenstown’s first major workforce accommodation is due to start in April.
New Ground Capital’s building 230 units across three high-rises below Frankton’s Remarkables Park Town Centre.
The company originally received consent for a 143-unit affordable housing complex in central Queenstown’s Gorge Road, but pulled the pin due to rising construction costs caused by geotech problems.
By the end of 2017, it had consent for an alternative Remarkables Park complex, Toru Apartments.
After civil works were completed in the third quarter of last year, construction was due to start in the final quarter.
New Ground Capital boss Roy Thompson, however, says “we were unable to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement” with its preferred contractor.
The company’s now engaging with another builder whom it’s expecting to sign a contract with.
“Unfortunately with a project of this scale and complexity, you simply have to be patient, especially in a small but very busy construction market like Queenstown.
“Better to take your time and get it right than to rush in.”
Thompson says the total project cost is in the vicinity of $100 million.
The first building, underway in April with a completion date late next year, is Toru East.
It comprises 78 one-, two- and three-bed units priced from $450,000.
Sixty have sold, including 50 to the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust for affordable housing.
Toru Central, comprising 80 self-contained one- and two-bed units, will be retained by New Ground Living for rental to employers and households.
It will have co-living facilities like a roof terrace, commercial kitchen and residents’ lounge.
It’s due for completion in the first half of 2021.
Toru West, comprising 72 units and a cafe, will be offered to the market or retained as rental units.
Its completion date is late 2021.
“Large build-to-rent and affordable housing developments like this are never easy to deliver,” Thompson says.
“But we are excited to be progressing, and very much looking forward to delivering these fantastic apartments to their future residents and tenants, and to be making a meaningful contribution to the Queenstown housing market.”
His company hasn’t actively sought leases from employers, pending greater certainty on the completion date for Toru Central.
“Despite that, we continue to field regular enquiries from employers seeking accommodation options for their staff, including, for example, a large national business this last week who are potentially looking for up to 20 units.”
Mountain Scene reported last June that almost 40 nearby residents had met to air concerns about issues like traffic congestion and the buildings’ six- to seven-level height
They threatened a High Court challenge but didn’t proceed.
Thompson says he didn’t hear back from any of the objectors, and said at the time: “We’ve worked hard to ensure the development is as sympathetic to the local neighbourhood as possible, noting it’s a large complex”.