Council in talks over Lakeview site

High-rise affordable housing blocks could be a possibility on the high-profile Lakeview site in central Queenstown.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council called for expressions of interest to develop the 4-hectare site, which currently hosts old camping ground cabins.

Of the seven expressions it received it is holding further discussions with two "preferred participants" - Ngai Tahu Tourism and the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust.

Both parties have indicated they would like to use a portion of the site.

The trust would use if for affordable housing. Ngai Tahu has declined to reveal details of its proposal for commercial reasons.

Trust chairman David Cole said he believed there was scope for high-rise buildings on the site, as long as they were nestled back into the hills.

"If that's the case there could be quite a bit of work that would have to go through the planning and consent stage. There would potentially have to be a plan change."

Planning rules allow apartment blocks to be no higher than four storeys.

The council identified that high-rise buildings were a possibility on the site when it first called for expressions of interest in 2007.

The latest call for expressions of interest was called in August this year.

Council finance general manager Stewart Burns said the council would hold talks now with the two parties but were still some way off entering an agreement with either party.

"Proceeding with discussions on the two proposals allows council to sort out how it will finalise the structure plan that makes cohesive use of the whole site."

Mr Cole said there was an opportunity to build a hub where commercial, tourism and residential properties could co-exist on a significant site with great visual amenity near central Queenstown.

"At the moment it's a residential site so I think there's an opportunity to redevelop and improve what's there," he said.

Ngai Tahu Tourism southern general manager David Kennedy said the organisation was looking forward to discussing its business concept with the council.

"We acknowledge that there is still a lengthy process to be gone through to determine the best and most feasible uses for the site and for the community beyond," he said.

The Southland Times