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Skyline Queenstown announces major development plans
Preparing to mark its 50th year of operation in 2017, Skyline Queenstown has announced a mulit-million dollar redevelopment of its gondola and Luge chairlift, as well as a major expansion of its upper complex and a brand new lower terminal building.
Aiming to accommodate anticipated growth in visitor numbers over the next 30 years, the $60 million investment will be the most significant since the current gondola system was installed in 1987.
The redevelopment see Skyline proposing to: replace its existing four-seat gondola system with a state-of-the-art 10-seat gondola; expand the capacity of its restaurant, Stratosfare, from 330 seats to 650 in a flexible configuration for multiple dining options; replace the existing two-seater chairlift that services the Skyline Luge with a four-seat chair; expand the panoramic viewing deck from 68 metre² to 430 metre² and almost double its capacity for conferences and events to cater for up to 770 delegates in purpose-built facilities.
With more than 787,000 people using the gondola each year, the current system is, at times, reaching its capacity of 1100 guests per hour. A new 10-seat gondola is expected to take up to 3000 guests per hour, with the number of gondola users projected to nearly double by 2030.
Skyline Enterprises Chairman Mark Quickfall says the development is an important investment for the future tourism landscape as it will accommodate ongoing growth for many years to come.
Quickfall explained “this development is about future-proofing Skyline Queenstown as a premium tourist attraction and ensuring it delivers to a world-class standard. As well as accommodating higher visitor numbers, it will feature one of the most technologically advanced gondola systems available, cutting down wait times at the base terminal and improving the overall guest experience.
“It’s going to benefit every gondola user – whether they’re coming up to enjoy the incredible scenery from our viewing deck, access world-class mountain biking trails and other tourism businesses or experience Skyline Queenstown’s famous Luge, great hospitality and star-gazing.”
Welcoming the investment, Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler added “Queenstown already offers visitors some of the most spectacular views and scenery in the world.
“The state-of-the-art Skyline Queenstown Development Project is about providing a built environment that does justice to its magnificent setting. This development represents the kind of vision and thinking we need to see more of to ensure our visitors continue to have an exceptional visitor experience in New Zealand.”
The Skyline facilities are being designed by award-winning architect Michael Wyatt, who adds “the new base terminal building, which houses the gondola cabins when they’re not in use, will be a striking sculptural machine hall with a transparent ground floor.
“The movement of gondolas will be seen as coming and going through the glass and up the hill. The building will become a landmark by virtue of its function and importance to Queenstown.
“The extension of the existing Skyline complex must remain sympathetic to the landscape. This building, when viewed from town, will give a similar impression to the current complex on Bob’s Peak, but it will be adjusted to make it more interesting.”
In order to complete the gondola replacement, Skyline Queenstown will close for a period of between eight and 12 weeks in the autumn of 2018 with about 80% of construction work occuring either side of the temporary closure.
During the closure every effort will be made to ensure the day-to-day running of the gondola, Luge or dining options, mountain biking, and other tourism businesses won’t be affected.
With a resource consent application for the development expected be lodged with Queenstown Lakes District Council later this month, it is hoped the project will commence in March 2017.
For more information go to www.skylinedevelopment.co.nz
Images (from top): One of Skyline Queenstown's current gondolas, the planned new lower terminal building and top complex with line showing where the extension will start.
20th May 2015 - NEW TOURISM INDUSTRY AWARDS ANNOUNCED FOR NEW ZEALAND
6th November 2014 - QUEENSTOWN TOURISM WINS AT NEW ZEALAND AWARDS
21st August 2013 - SKYLINE QUEENSTOWN NEW BIKE TRAIL TO OPEN IN 2013/14 SEASON
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