Work begins to fill Frankton excavation

The hole beside State Highway 6 is looking smaller than it did last week and will continue to shrink over the next few months. Photo by Christina McDonald.
The hole beside State Highway 6 is looking smaller than it did last week and will continue to shrink over the next few months. Photo by Christina McDonald.
The eyesore known locally as ''Hendo's hole'', which greets visitors to Queenstown, is shrinking as the material dug out to make way for an underground car park is put back in.

The progress is taking place in the yawning hole beside State Highway 6, at a site agreed for a Countdown supermarket.

Redwood Group Ltd manages the Frankton Flats land owned by Queenstown Gateway Ltd, which has consent for the $125 million Five Mile retail complex, and the excavation was inherited from previous owner Dave Henderson's failed development.

The hole has been part of the scenery since 2006. Work on the site is not expected to finish until the complex is completed, planned for early 2015.

Redwood Group's development manager Simon Holloway said ''we should be powering ahead, right the way through'' when asked whether work would stop during winter.

Mr Holloway said the filling-in would continue over the next few months'' and a basement would be built.

The Five Mile development still required an underground car park, he said, ''but not to the size proposed previously''.

Queenstown Gateway's resource consent application says 85,500cu m of material is required to fill the hole to the level now desired.

Earlier this week, Mr Holloway said the material which had been dug out had been stockpiled nearby and it was ''nice to get it going - it's taken a while'', alluding to the long wait for progress.

In April, a judicial review instigated by nearby Shotover Park Ltd against the consent for the Five Mile development was withdrawn after all parties - including Shotover Park Ltd, Queenstown Lakes District Council and Queenstown Gateway Ltd - reached agreement.

Mr Holloway said there were still ''plenty'' of building consents to come, but with the construction being in stages, these should have been acquired by the time they are needed.

''The basement works will just flow on into the upper storey works.''

There would be about 50 retail tenancies of varying sizes. Tenants announced at this stage include Countdown, Briscoes, Rebel Sport, Number One Shoes and Super Cheap Auto.