Arrowtown sale draws wide interest

The Postmaster's Residence restaurant during Labour Weekend. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The Postmaster's Residence restaurant during Labour Weekend. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

The marketing of the Postmaster's Residence restaurant in Arrowtown has attracted expressions of interest from the United Kingdom and Australia, in addition to local inquiries.

Fraser Skinner, of Harcourts in Arrowtown, said the business had attracted "very strong interest" since it was placed on the market during Labour Weekend.

"It has been primarily from the local area, but also from the United Kingdom and from Australia," Mr Fraser said.

Both the international inquiries had local connections, the Australian inquirer being "someone who knows Arrowtown well and is looking for a reason to move", he said.

The building will continue to be owned by Bush Creek Investments, as the sale is of the business not the building.

The business, covering about 170sq m including the balcony area, came with all the chattels and Mr Skinner could only reveal it was "at a realistic price" and that the sale was due to personal circumstances.

The Postmaster's Residence restaurant in Buckingham St has a rich history, having been a feature of the street since the 1860s, though the first house burnt down in 1907 and was replaced with the present villa.

Lakes District Museum director David Clarke provided information about Postmaster's Residence.

The villa was used by Post Office staff until the 1980s, housing Arrowtown's last post master until 1982, when it became a bed and breakfast then an artist's residence.

Plans to demolish the building to build apartments in 1996 were contested by the Arrowtown community, which convinced the Queenstown Lakes District Council to protect the building by way of a Heritage Protection Order.

In 1997, this order was removed and the community responded by raising funds to purchase the building.

Before the sale to developer Guy Evatt, various convenants were agreed to - including the protection of the gardens - to ensure Postmaster's Residence and the Post Office would remain a historic town feature.

The building is a "nice transition" between the commercial zone and the old miners' cottages, Mr Clarke said.

The Post Office precinct is now home to the Postmaster's Residence restaurant, a Tapas Bar, offices and the Arrowtown Post Office.

Mr Skinner attributed the strong interest to the "importance of the location in Arrowtown" and the development of the village's food, wine and shopping scene.