A planned $100 million luxury hotel complex near Skyline's gondola marks a Queenstown comeback for an American developer.
Kevin Carlin - who developed The Waterfront apartments 20 years ago and then the exclusive Lakeside Estates subdivision - lodged a resource consent application for Queenstown Views last Friday.
The estimated price tag includes the cost of buying a block of four residential properties bounded by Man, Brecon and Isle Sts.
Carlin's four-level complex includes a 120 to 130-room, four and a-half to five-star hotel, up to 20 high-end shops and six food and beverage outlets.
Hawkins Construction has been appointed as building contractor.
Mr Carlin hopes to break ground next February-March, and is targeting April 12, 2019, for his grand opening.
He is working on securing a hotel operator.
"I've been talking to the largest hotel brands in the world. They would all love to be in Queenstown."
The application is the first lodged since the Queenstown council's plan change 50 was approved last year.
Under the plan change, 14.5ha of residential-zoned land above Man St was rezoned "Queenstown Town Centre".
That allows high-rise residential and visitor accommodation, opening up a possible development splurge.
Mr Carlin said he would have stuck to just a hotel but was adding retail and hospitality because Brecon St was a tourist corridor heading up to Queenstown's gondola operation.
Gondola-owner Skyline also has $100m expansion plans.
The food and beverage offerings would include a wine shop by the Isle St corner, Chinese-Asian restaurant, piano bar and rooftop cocktail and tapas bar.
Mr Carlin said his shops would appeal to both the hotel's high-end guests and those staying across Man St at the five-star Sofitel, as well as locals.
He was bullish about retail because the current CBD is fully leased.
Mr Carlin pointed out car parking was not required under the town centre zoning, but noted the Man St car park was directly opposite.
Queenstown Views was originally designed by Warren & Mahoney Architects' local office but it was reworked by Auckland's Ignite Architects, after recommendations by the council's urban design panel.
Mr Carlin made his initial fortune supplying field kitchens to the United States military.His first Queenstown purchase, in 1991, eventually became Lakeside Estates.
He later moved to Christchurch, before shifting to Australia's Gold Coast in 2005.
The 62-year-old says he fell in love with Queenstown again after bringing over his two young children last winter.He hoped to sell off or joint-venture his hotel, retaining only a penthouse.
But he wanted to retain the commercial component for retirement income.