Chinese investors buy site for hotel

The site behind Pounamu Apartments on Frankton Rd. An impression of a proposed hotel is seen behind. Photo suppliedChina-based investors have snapped up a prime local site destined for a new hotel and it is tipped to boost Chinese tourism into Queenstown.

Queenstown Ray White agent Buzz Scown confirmed a group of investors based in China had bought an excavated, hotel-consented 1.2ha site, behind Frankton Road's Pounamu Apartments, for $3.6 million.

The same group had also bought an adjacent 1923sq m site, off Panorama Tce, for $1.1 million, he said.

Mr Scown said the Chinese were keen to build a hotel using the resource consent originally obtained for the site in 2008 by a company belonging to bankrupted developer Dan McEwan.

That consent - extended this April for another three years - was for a 103-room five-star Hilton Hotel, but work stopped after the site was excavated.

The Hilton chain ended up managing the Kawarau Falls Station complex, on the other side of Frankton Arm.

The site has been owned for the past three years by Palmerston North investor Keith Marriott, who had it listed for $3.5 million.

Mr Scown recently also brokered the sale of another local accommodation-zoned site owned by Marriott, beside Rydges Lakeland hotel, for $3.2 million.

Mr Scown said his Chinese buyers, who also wanted to build a hotel in Auckland and possibly one in Christchurch, liked the Frankton Rd site because the hard work obtaining a resource consent had already been done.

''Internally, they may look for some slightly different layout but it will all be done on a compliant basis.

''They're on the job - they don't stop for Christmas.''

Mr Scown added that, unlike apartment developers, they were not interested in selling down individual units.

It was likely they would also target Chinese tourists to further boost the country's fastest-growing visitor market, he said.

In March this year, Prime Minister John Key, who is also Minister of Tourism, told a business audience a Chinese hotel should be built in New Zealand.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd said he could only speculate on what a Chinese hotel would do for visitor numbers.

''I would hope new investment would be about targeting growth in visitor numbers [from China].''

As for the site purchase itself, Mr Budd said: ''I think it's a positive thing and not unexpected; we probably should expect more.

"The Chinese have been investing internationally for years - they're just getting to NZ.''

Chinese make up the second-largest group of tourists coming to New Zealand, with more than 230,000 visiting the country each year.

They are the fifth largest visitor group to Queenstown, which gets about 15% of the Chinese visitors to New Zealand.


The Difference

GW_Scam - the difference of course is the hotel design in Queenstown will comply with local bylaws , and blend in with and complement its surroundings not create an eyesore for the whole town, if the Dunedin proposal did the same it would be welcomed with open arms

Complete agreement

For once I find myself in complete agreement with you, sir.

Meanwhile in Dunedin

Meanwhile in Dunedin, we have a patch of rubbish-strewn scrub-facing dilapidated buildings and an unused waterfront area.

Of course, many of the locals prefer this over a world-class, money- investment- and job-generating Hotel.  But then, this is Dunedin.


Told you so

There are "better ways" to do a hotel development.