First sections sell for $650m Cardrona development

The first home and land packages in a $650million development on part of Mt Cardrona Station have...
The first home and land packages in a $650million development on part of Mt Cardrona Station have been released. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
After 15 years’ planning, the first land and home packages in a $650 million 400-home development in the Cardrona Valley have been released.

Mt Cardrona Station co-owner Chris Morton said since the first 24 packages in the Pioneer neighbourhood were launched last week $12million in sales were already under contract.

The station, between Queenstown and Wanaka, was set on 400ha of high-country land, but just 29ha would be developed, he said.

The packages had been snapped up by lockdown-fatigued Aucklanders and Australians, other buyers coming from the Bay of Plenty and Queenstown.

Additionally, about 23 sections, ranging in size from about 300sqm to about 800sqm, had also hit the market and interest in those had increased since artists’ impressions had been released, Mr Morton said.

The homes were designed by multi-award-winning Leuschke Group Architects, would be built by Landmark Homes and feature landscape design by Queenstown’s Baxter Design Group.

Mr Morton, of Auckland, said the smallest houses at present had three bedrooms and were priced at $1.295million, while the largest — called the Rose — was about $2.3million.

Cardrona Valley farmer and entrepreneur John Lee bought it in the 1970s, going on to create what is now Cardrona Alpine Ski Resort.

Continuing his legacy, Mr Morton and Andrew Spencer created new zoning and environmentally sensitive infrastructure to enable others to enjoy and care for land at the base of the ski area.

Mr Morton said that after 15 years working on the project, it was "exciting" to see it coming to fruition.

"It sort of feels like the right time — I think, probably, we were ahead of our time.

"You know what the RMA [Resource Management Act] is like and the protection that they give the landscape down there, so things like this don’t come along very often."

On completion, the resort-style development would feature about 400 homes along with an adventure centre with a gym and workout spaces; hot pools; "The Club Room", planned as an owners’ hangout after a day skiing, hiking or biking; and the first 30km of private walking and mountain biking trails, being constructed in two stages.

The latter had been included instead of a planned Greg Turner-designed 12-hole golf course, for which Mt Cardrona Station received a plan change from the Queenstown Lakes District Council in 2018.

Mr Morton said that since then mountain biking’s popularity had "changed the landscape all over New Zealand" and was a better fit with the development.

While the site had enough water for the golf course, "I don’t think it was the most sustainable long-term use for water", he said.

"We just saw biking as something that works well on our land and, increasingly, is something people want to do."

Other planned amenities included The Homestead, which would feature all-day dining, work spaces and meeting rooms for remote workers, a swimming pool, a ski and bike workshop and transfers to nearby ski areas.

"We’re keen on building a strong community at Mt Cardrona Station, and taking our place in the growing community of Cardrona as a whole."

He expected the first houses to be under construction by the end of next year, and the first residents living there by the end of 2023.

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