'Thompson St trifecta' sells to Novotel's overseas owners for staff accommodation

by Kim Bowden - Feb 01, 2024

Two hotel operators have received Overseas Investment Office approval to buy up land in Queenstown to provide their workers a place to live.

The owners of Novotel Queenstown and sister property Kamana Lakehouse, and the owners of Rosewood Matakauri, a luxury lodge on the road to Glenorchy, have separately applied for and been granted permission to acquire land for staff accommodation.

The Indonesian owners of Queenstown's Novotel and Kamana Lakehouse, Continuum Hotel Limited, have been given green light by the office to acquire 90, 92 and 94 Thompson Street in Queenstown.

The deal is for 0.21 hectares of land with a price tag of up to $4 million.

The land currently includes three residential dwellings, marketed last year by Bayleys real estate agents as the 'Thomspson Street Trifecta'.

"The applicant intends to redevelop the land to construct 54 new studio rooms to be used as accommodation for staff employed at the Queenstown hotels," a decision summary says.

"The development will enable the applicant to attract and retain staff by providing a long-term solution to the shortage of staff accommodation options in Queenstown."

It is the second major move the company has made to house its Queenstown staff; in November, a long-term lease of the former Youth Hostel Association accommodation on Shotover Street was secured for use as worker accommodation.

The Overseas Investment Office has also approved the sale of up to seven properties of up to 2.5 hectares each across three locations to Waiaua Bay Farm, which owns Rosewood Matakauri.

Waiaua Bay Farm has two other lodges in New Zealand - Rosewood Cape Kidnappers, in Hawke's Bay, and Rosewood Kauri Cliffs, in Northland. 

The entity was founded by American billionaire hedge find manager and philanthropist Julian Robertson, who died in 2022 aged 90.

According to a summary of the OIO decision, Waiaua Bay Farm wants to acquire residential property close to each of its three lodges to house staff employed at them.

The overseas owners of Rosewood Matakauri lodge near Queenstown are allowed to look for local land for workers accommodation (Image: Facebook).

"The applicant has faced difficulty attracting staff to the lodges due to the scarcity and proximity of rental accommodation in each of the locations," the summary says.

The office notes the investment is "in yet to be identified sensitive land".

In September, Hong-Kong-based Rosewood Hotels and Resorts announced it had secured a management deal for the three Kiwi lodges.

Main image (Screengrab Bayleys Real Estate listing): The Thomspon Street 'trifecta' has been sold to an overseas hotel operator keen to build 54 studios to house its Queenstown workers.

Support Crux Support Crux