A court decision has opened the door for a long-planned luxury hotel on the main road into Queenstown.

Auckland’s Shundi Group has battled through a drawn-out consenting process since buying the bare Frankton Rd site for $10.5 million in 2016.

After originally proposing a $60m, 68-room building for the 4656sqm site, which has commanding views of Lake Whakatipu, it later added a storey to increase capacity to 82 rooms and four suites.

That proposal was rejected by Queenstown’s council in 2020, mainly over concerns about vehicle access from Frankton Rd and the impact on traffic and parking in nearby side streets.

However, the arterial bypass project — one end of which starts near the land — gave the company an opportunity to revise its vehicle access design.

That got the council on board with the proposal, but several neighbours remained opposed and an appeal hearing went ahead in the Environment Court in 2021.

At the hearing’s conclusion, the court indicated it would refuse consent unless Shundi addressed neighbours’ concerns about the shade cast by the proposed building during winter.

Prime land: The site, which adjoins busy Frankton Rd, slopes towards Lake Whakatipu

The court’s latest decision comes after the company made more design tweaks — by Mason & Wales Architects’ Ashley Muir — to mitigate those concerns.

It has now settled on a design for 75 rooms and four suites, along with a restaurant, bar and meeting rooms.

The decision says the revised proposal satisfies the legal requirements for granting consent, and its final decision will follow after updated planning documents are filed.

The area’s high-density residential zoning requires visitor accommodation development to ‘‘respect residential amenity values’’, the decision says.

Without the changes, the building would have resulted in ‘‘significant unfairness and disenfranchisement’’ to its neighbours.

Shundi Group, which is now building New Zealand’s tallest residential tower in downtown Auckland, is the local arm of a Shanghai-based development company.

It didn’t respond to a Mountain Scene request for comment.

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