Porter Group buys station for $8.05 million

Ray White Queenstown auctioneer Alan Lethbridge conducts the mortgagee auction of Kawarau River Station at its office yesterday. Photo by Guy Williams.
Ray White Queenstown auctioneer Alan Lethbridge conducts the mortgagee auction of Kawarau River Station at its office yesterday. Photo by Guy Williams.
Kawarau River Station has been bought by the developers of Frankton's Remarkables Park for $8.05 million.

The property, which lies on the northern face of the Remarkables mountain range and is only 15 minutes' drive from Frankton, was bought by a Porter Group company at a mortgagee auction in Queenstown yesterday.

Remarkables Park Ltd co-director Alastair Porter said the second stage of the Remarkables Park Town Centre, a new high school and other projects were ''taking up our farmland'', and the group planned to move livestock to the station from its own stud farm deer operation.

There were no plans to subdivide the property, Mr Porter said.

''Subdivision is not something we are currently comtemplating. I haven't given it any consideration.''

The Porter Group had been interested in the property for a long time, and the sale was a ''fair result for both parties''.

Owned by businessman Steve Laing since 1995, the 1825ha property has been on the market since last November.

In 1999, after a tenure review process, Mr Laing surrendered 1262ha of high country to the Crown - including parts of the Remarkables ski area and Doolans Basin - and freeholded the rest. Mr Laing has other business interests in Frankton and Wanaka.

Although the property has been valued at $12.5 million, Ray White Queenstown auctioneer Alan Lethbridge told the Otago Daily Times he was pleased with the outcome.

''We knew we had interest, but it's a lot of money.

''I'm happy with the result, but they have got a great buy.''

There were ''half a dozen'' parties interested in the property, of which three were ''very serious'', he said.

Earlier in the week, Fish and Game Otago chief executive Niall Watson disputed a statement in national advertising for the property that stated public access was not permitted across the farm or the 14km stretch of the Kawarau River that comprised its northern boundary.

Mr Watson said he would seek discussions with any new owner about improving public access without encroaching on their farm operation.

When asked about Fish and Game Otago's concerns, Mr Porter said the Porter Group was ''a big supporter of the trails in Queenstown'', and was prepared to discuss any concerns about public access.