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Vineyard tourism complex is ripe for the picking

Media Release
Date 25.1.2010

Vineyard tourism complex is ripe for the picking

A planned five star winery-based luxury resort and associated entertainment and conference centre on Waiheke Island in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour has been placed on the market for sale.

Set within the grounds of Isola Estate is a resource consented 80-room, Tuscan-influenced, five-star hotel. Isola Estate is commonly referred to as the ‘Martha’s Vineyard of the South Pacific’. Under original plans, the hotel had been designed to accommodate 52 separate unit titles made up of one, two and three bedroom villas

The hotel is presently subject to a 25 year management agreement to Langham Hotels International under the brand Langham Place Waiheke Island Vineyard Resort and Spa. The resort is to be built on the existing Isola Estate winery – retaining some of the vine plantings around the perimeter of the buildings.
Adjoining the main hotel on its own title is a separate 1858 square metre entertainment and function venue offering day spa facilities, a gymnasium, retail wine outlet and functions venue with a capacity to hold up to 400 people.

Isola Estate owner and project developer Brent Gibson has spent almost four years working on the overall tourism and hospitality concept, and is convinced of the benefits the complex will bring to the Waiheke Island economy.
Gibson bought Isola Estate in 2006 from former Fullers Ferries chairman George Hudson, who had a consented concept plan for developing the space – albeit on a much smaller and mid-range scale.

As a long-time Waiheke Island resident, Gibson has been heavily involved with the island’s tourism sector - tracing back to 1989 when he was involved in establishing what is now known as the Waiheke Island Resort - a 3-star corporate-based property at the popular Palm Beach. Gibson also owned and operated McGinty’s Lodge on Onetangi Beach - where he secured resource consent for what is now known as The Sands complex, before selling his interests to the eventual developers. .

“With all the plans drawn up and appropriate resource consents acquired, the hotel project is ready to be taken up by an organisation which can see the vision and bring it to fruition. The management contract with Langham is still valid and can still be exercised,” Mr Gibson added.

“The development of the various tourism opportunities at Isola Estate will combine to present Waiheke as a truly recognised international inbound tourist destination. This is a ‘sunrise opportunity’ for a company or organisation to play the major role in the future of island tourism on Waiheke Island, which already boasts some of the best dining establishments and premium vineyards in New Zealand.
“Under current conditions, I’ve taken the project as far as I can and added as much value as I can. After four years, it’s time to pass the opportunity to an organisation who is capable of internally funding the project.”


The property is now being marketed by Bayleys Real Estate through a tender process, with expressions of interest closing on March 4.

Bayleys sales consultant Michael Pleciak said Isola Estate continued to operate independent businesses on the site, and these could continue long-term as revenue streams, or until construction on the hotel and entertainment complex began. These include:

• The vineyard’s award winning wine being produced and sold through the hospitality trade
• A rental property on the vineyard
• Regular and ongoing landfill payments
• A lease to hold four large scale outdoor events on bare land at the back of the site.

Isola Estate is now being offered for sale under two titles – with prospective buyers able to buy either one or both sites. Each title is more than four hectares in size. The front block has full resource consent for the 80-room hotel complex, and contains the wine-producing vineyard, while the back block has resource consent for the entertainment and function venue, and is currently operating as a land fill site and heliport.

The rear block sits between two of Waiheke’s leading wine producers – with Stoneyridge on one side and Te Motu on the other.

“We anticipate interest in Isola Estate will come from either within the New Zealand tourism operating sector or an international organisation wishing to invest in the New Zealand tourism sector,” Mr Pleciak said.
“The property is unique as there is no other hotel site consented on Waiheke Island. It has already been developed to the stage where roading and infrastructure is in place, and is beautifully landscaped - ready for further development.”

Managing director of The Langham Auckland, Jeffrey van Vorsselen, said Langham Hotels International remained 100 percent supportive of the development of a Langham Place property on Waiheke Island.

“The announcement of the exciting Isola development in 2008 was well received both locally and on the international arena, and we would very much like to see this project come to fruition,” Mr van Vorsselen said.

“We look forward to working with future investors or developers who are able to take this project forward, following the considerable work that has already been done.

“There is great synergy between our established five-star hotel in central Auckland, The Langham, and the proposed Langham Place boutique vineyard resort and spa on Waiheke Island, which will be just a short ferry or flight away.”


ends

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