Twenty studio units for sale beside Frankton Arm Tavern redefine affordability in Queenstown’s high-priced property landscape.

While apartments selling for $500,000 to $600,000 are frequently labelled ‘affordable’, vendor Logan Cranston has priced his bottom-placed Block E units, at 4 Lake Ave, at $385,000, including GST, and those above at $435,000, including GST.

Cranston bought the run-down former Frankton Arm Apartments, including Block E, in 2011.

Then known as ‘The Bronx’, he spent well over $1 million, alone, renovating this block.

‘‘All the buildings were gutted back to the frame, so there was really nothing of the original building other than the structure left.’’

Earlier owners had unit-titled the entire complex when they originally planned to sell it for timesharing — however, only the front block, ‘Club Pacific’, was timeshared.

‘‘But then everybody expected a bulldozer to go through [the rest], hence nobody did any maintenance at all for 15 years.

‘‘I bought it and, man, it was rough, to say the least.’’

After doing up the units, Cranston’s since had no trouble letting them out to long-termers.

Two years ago, he unsuccessfully tried to sell Block E in its entirety, but has now put up all the units separately via local One Agency sales consultants Nicholas Eyre and Martin Roy.

Cranston says he lived in an upstairs unit for three years himself — ‘‘and it was fantastic’’.

Premium location, non-premium pricing: Vendor Logan Cranston, left, and One Agency sales consultant Nicholas Eyre

‘‘The view [down Frankton Arm] every morning …

‘‘They’re super-insulated, everything’s double-glazed — it was only $100 a month for power and gas.

‘‘You’re just so private up there.

‘‘You walk to the airport, to the shops, you’ve got the beach right in front.’’

When anyone’s introduced to the units they go ‘wow’, he says.

‘‘It’s really just a peculiarity of the history of this particular property that it’s even here.’’

And it’s unheard of, he suggests, for entry-level property to have this location.

Cranston’s not aware there’s anything else at this price point apart from dregs like a unit where you have a great view of a retaining wall or something under a house.

While he expects investor interest or interest even from those looking to Airbnb a unit — allowable under the property’s hotel zoning — ‘‘it would be lovely to see 20 first-time buyers and young people get into these units as a first step onto the property ladder’’.

‘‘Personally, having put so much into this over the years, I’d really love to step away seeing this happen.’’

Cranston, however, hopes banks veer away from their usual aversion to lending for small units — these are each about 24 square metres.

‘‘That may have made sense 15 years ago, when a small place really was the dregs, but you look at something like this, it’s a really nice place to live.’’

Owners also belong to a body corporate — currently, annual fees range from $2106 for top-floor units to $2379 for bottom-floor units.

Meanwhile, Cranston’s hoping investors would keep on existing tenants, while owner-occupiers would be steered to a unit where a tenant’s leaving.

Eyre says there’s also interest from a couple of tenants in buying their digs.

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