Downtown Queenstown apartment owners claim noise and pile-driving vibrations from a neighbouring hotel development are costing them tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
Most owners at The Lodges let out their units to high-paying visitors.
However, due to disruption from construction next door, on the Lake Esplanade/Brunswick Street corner, many are refunding guests and/or putting their units into less-lucrative long-term rentals.
Body corp chair Bob Tovey, who owns two units, says last month he had to refund two Airbnb tenants ‘‘a reasonable amount of money because of the noise they were getting from the building site — guests who pay a lot of money to go and live in a nice apartment on the waterfront getting woken up quite early’’.
Mountain Scene’s been told one owner’s lost about $40,000 in income to date.
Tovey: ‘‘It’s a little bit unfortunate we are subsidising their hotel because we’re paying for it through our loss of income.’’
He’s ‘‘bit the bullet’’ and rented his units long-term for a year — ironically, helping a local business house their staff.
Q’town unit owners out of pocket due to construction site
Despite being thousands down per week, Tovey’s bigger concern is keeping his Airbnb ‘superhost’ rating.
‘‘All it takes is for a few people to come here, have a noisy stay and rate me down to three stars instead of four or five and then I lose my superhost accreditation which is quite a lot, because you’re way up the ladder when people are searching.’’
What’s most upset owners, he says, is the developer allegedly didn’t contact his body corp before construction started last September, so no one could plan for it.
‘‘Now we’re all planning for it, but it’s bit too late, some people have had bad reviews.
‘‘[Some] have been giving 50% of their income back to the customer to try and negate bad reviews.’’
While some owners are ‘‘very upset’’, Tovey says ‘‘I feel resigned to the fact it’s a necessary evil on the path to having a five-star hotel’’ — something much better than the ‘‘derelict’’ Bumbles backpackers formerly on the site.
He met last week with Australian hotel developer Denis Mackenzie and is grateful for his promise to clean their units of dust when the job’s complete — ‘‘and they’ve mitigated a lot of the dust now’’.
He didn’t think the developer was too interested in paying anyone compensation — ‘‘basically, it just falls upon us to suck it up, I guess’’.
Developer sympathetic to owners’ worries
Speaking this week, however, Mackenzie tells Scene he’s open to discuss ing compensation with individual owners.
He stresses he and his builder are trying to be as sympathetic as they can to their neighbours, with the least disruption.
‘‘Council spent an enormous amount of time in the resource consent process defining noise and what we could do during construction, and we are 100% operating within those parameters.
‘‘We’re sort of going over and above actually what’s required in terms of putting out sound-deadening things.’’
Mackenzie says he fully understands unit owners’ concerns.
His company, he adds, also owns the nearby Upper Village precinct, on Brecon St.
‘‘We’ve been hugely interrupted and our tenants have been hugely interrupted by the roadworks and what they’re doing up at Skyline, so we are sympathetic.’’
As to owners’ concerns over lack of prior notice, ‘‘I don’t want to get into that, we’re trying to communicate as best we can’’.
He says when their Roki Collection Hotel opens next year, ‘‘we hope it’s a great asset for Queenstown and visitors here’’.
‘‘We think about it being internationally and nationally famous, and we think about it being locally loved.
‘‘It’s going to be, we hope, pretty amazing when it opens.’’