The Government's Crown Infrastructure Partners will loan up to $22.5 million for a new $45m research and innovation hub at Queenstown's Remarkables Park, a developer says.
Alastair Porter, chief executive of Remarkables Park - developing the area near Queenstown Airport - announced the new project today, saying the state money would be loaned for the new three-level Research & Innovation Queenstown which is under construction.
That business is a subsidiary of Remarkables Park and the money will contribute to the development of stage one of the project being built on a greenfields or previously undeveloped site near the Kawarau River.
The Remarkables Park company would match Government funding for the building and costs of adjacent roading and services, Porter said.
Earthworks have already started on the corner of Market St and Golden Elm Lane.
"The first building will provide approximately 6000sq m of research and innovation offices and facilities as well as commercial uses. This infrastructure will be a major step towards diversifying the Queenstown Lakes District economy," Porter said.
State financial support would help fund architects, planners, civil, structural, fire, mechanical engineers and a construction workforce of more than 100 people, Porter said.
Jonathan Chen, Remarkables Park executive director, said the new hub would aim to draw new people and keep and potentially upskill the area's residents.
A board has been formed to run the hub and is chaired by Austrian-born entrepreneur Hermann Hauser, who co-founded Acorn Computers, ARM, Amadeus Capital and the Cambridge Innovation Network.
Hauser said New Zealand had a track record of developing technology and in innovation so the new hub in the Queenstown setting would foster a new age of research and innovation in the area.
The hub designed by Otago architects Mason & Wales.
Earthworks are well underway, with significant excavation complete. Cook Brothers Construction won the building contract.
Porter said: "Our vision is focused on enabling projects that include creating employment opportunities for local people to build a prosperous and resilient region. We are committed to sustainable innovation for the well-being of future generations."
The new hub would help diversify the local economy, he said.
Remarkables Park is a master-planned community with hotels and a town centre. It is on the border of the special Remarkables Park Zone, flanked by the Kawarau River.
Porter appears on the National Business Review's Rich List with his brothers, owning 66ha worth $200m in the Remarkables Park zone.
The Porters' proposed conference centre and $100m gondola linked to The Remarkables skifield have not yet eventuated but have been proposed for some years.