They all go for the district, says the developer

Work on a site designed to address Wānaka’s workforce housing shortage will begin in September if enough buyers are found, the developer says.

Chris Broadhead, a developer from Timaru who moved to the seaside town to oversee the project, said “nothing was stopping us” from going ahead with phase one of Reece Quarters, a development of 15 townhouses at 14 Reece Cres, that would incur the costs. up to 105 rooms for local workers.

“We have received our first building permit, our first resource consent… I have secured my financing for the project.

“We’re all going.”

The comments came at a Wānaka Business Chamber event on Thursday evening, where Mr Broadhead told attendees he wanted to secure buyers for the first four townhouses before turning over land on the site, the former site of a landscaping company.

“I want four applications to come in, and there is a lot of interest in that at the moment. We are just working on it.”

He said the district would be the first of its kind in the Southern Lakes region, with the goal of “providing stability for workforce housing” while maximizing return on investment for owners.

The fully furnished townhouses could easily be bought on freehold land, with ten-year covenants attached to each to ensure the “developer’s vision is taken seriously”.

“We don’t want an investor to buy one and suddenly turn it into an AirBnb. That’s not going to happen.”

When a participant asked about Mr Broadhead’s reasoning behind the ten-year time frame, he said he believed this was sufficient time to determine whether the development had succeeded in its stated goals, while offering investors flexibility as the market within ten years would change.

“If it produces a good return, it kind of answers the question of why it wouldn’t continue.”

Mr Broadhead said they were primarily targeting local businesses as potential investors in the project, and discussions with interested parties had shown that it was a popular sentiment to have a property manager oversee the area.

“Put your three employees there, the property manager will manage the other rooms that you have to maximize your investment and then there’s an opportunity for them to hire seasonal workers and move them around the facility.”

Room costs were estimated at $350 a week plus bills, costs that individual businesses could subsidize, Mr Broadhead said.

When asked about the decision to allocate one on-site parking space per unit, Mr Broadhead said this was higher than what Queenstown Lakes District Council required, but that they would provide facilities such as cycle parking and charging stations for alternative transport options.

Residents can also take advantage of available parking spaces at a QLDC parking lot about 250 meters away from the precinct, he said.

“We do our best to make sure we don’t get in and just completely ignore that.”

The first four homes in the district are now for sale. Construction is expected to start in November.

According to the current schedule, construction of all 15 townhouses would be completed by May 2026.

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