As Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, ''Tthere is
nothing permanent except change.'' When applied to
Queenstown, never a truer word was spoken. In recent decades,
countless stories in the Otago Daily Times have been
dedicated to development in the resort and in recent years
those stories have focused on development at Frankton.
Queenstown reporter Tracey Roxburgh looks at the impact on
the heart and soul of the Wakatipu - the Queenstown CBD.
It is the mountain resort version of David and Goliath - the
question is, which one is which?
On one hand, there is Queenstown's central business district.
The compact network of bars, restaurants, cafes, tourist
shops, clothing and specialty retailers is constantly buzzing
with tourists and residents.
From sunrise until sunset, and the hours in between,
Queenstown's energy is unique.
About 7km to the east is Frankton.
Until about 14 years ago, the suburb was primarily a
residential development, with a small shopping centre known
as Frankton Village and an airport yet to realise its full
Enter Remarkables Park Ltd.
Commercial development at the site began in 2000. Four years
later, with five major stores already open, RPL managing
director Alastair Porter, who works closely with brothers
John and Neville, unveiled plans to spend $1.2 billion
developing a second town centre at the site.
Now, work is under way on the second stage of Remarkables
Park - to include a conference centre, visitor accommodation
and retail, among other things, with work to establish a
And others are following the Porter brothers' lead.
A decade ago, it was clear that Queenstown's CBD was Goliath
but, given the frenzy of commercial activity at Frankton, one
wonders if that title has shifted east.
Another question is, does it matter?
Are their markets so distinctly different - except the bar
trade, perhaps - that the two can live side by side without a
slingstone being thrown in anger?
The Queenstown Lakes District Council has plans to expand the
CBD by rezoning land from high-density residential to
Queenstown Town Centre, which would include the council's
Lakeview site, pegged for a convention centre, and additional
privately owned land between that and the existing CBD.
Its goal is to better utilise land available for commercial,
community and residential activities.
Add to that Skyline Enterprises' planned $6 million,
three-storey development on a prime site within the CBD,
totalling 781sq m.
It is anticipated the building will house high-end retail,
premium office space and visitor accommodation.
Subject to building consents, construction should begin this
year and it should be open within 12 months.
At Frankton, a key feature of the landscape is large
construction sites, with buildings popping up like mushrooms
Four separate staged developments, including Remarkables
Park, are progressing. All are scheduled to be partly open
and operating within the next 12 months, and more is coming.
The contentious and drawn-out Plan Change 19: Frankton Flats,
which will open up another 60ha of land to be developed, is
expected to be finalised by the end of the year.
On Monday, it will be back before the Environment Court in
Christchurch for two weeks.
If or when it is finalised, the land will be opened up for a
mix of residential and visitor accommodation, retail and some
larger-scale industrial development.
In the middle of all of the developments sits an
international airport - one of the fastest-growing in
Australia and New Zealand - that has had 40% growth in
passenger numbers since 2009 ... and it does not appear that
growth will slow any time soon.
Within the next 12 months the staged developments will be
partially open for business, including several ''big box''
It is clear the vast majority of the commercial development
in recent history has been at Frankton and it is obvious that
will not stop in the foreseeable future.
And it is inevitable there will eventually be two town
centres in the Wakatipu - but the consensus from business
people, community leaders and developers is there will only
ever be one CBD.