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Lakefront: An artist's impression of the proposed Bumbles Hotel

By GUY WILLIAMS

An Australian businessman charged with fraud is behind plans to build a 17-room high-end hotel on a prime lakefront site close to Queenstown’s CBD.

Bumbles Holdings Ltd has applied for consent to build the five-storey Bumbles Hotel on the
corner of Lake Esplanade and Brunswick Street.

The company’s directors are controversial Australian businessman Denis MacKenzie and
fellow Aussie Michael ‘Mick’ Hannon.

MacKenzie’s been charged with fraud by Victoria’s anti-corruption watchdog over a failed
online learning project that cost up to $250 million in public money.

The pair are behind a commercial hub now under construction on the former CaddyShack
mini golf site on Brecon St, and are also directors of Rees Valley Lodge Ltd, which hit the
headlines two years ago over its plans to build a luxury lodge on Rees Valley Station.

A Bumbles Backpackers now operates from a cluster of buildings on the sharply-angled corner site.

The applicant wants to knock those over and build the hotel, which would have 15 hotel rooms and two kitchen-equipped units.

Other facilities include basement carparking, a gym, ‘‘wellness centre’’ and pool, as well as a bar and restaurant for guest use only.

Plans by Auckland’s Sumich Chaplin Architects show a schist and patterned-concrete
cladding, with parts of the building exceeding the 7m height limit permitted by the proposed district plan.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz