‘Timing could not be better’: Five-star southern resort spending $4m-plus on renovations

Yet in an apparently logic-defying move, that’s what one place in the Queenstown area is doing.

Millbrook Resort near Arrowtown is planning a $4 million upgrade to enable a golf course expansion to offer 36 holes.

The Queenstown resort was last year considering laying off staff after Covid broke out and it got more than $2m in wage subsidies and extensions from Work and Income.

A resort executive was quoted last year saying nobody would be officially laid-off until after the wage subsidy expired.

Construction started this month to prepare to build a new practice putting green near the golf shop and reception building and the reconfiguration of tees on the Remarkables No. 1 hole.

Last March, the Herald reported how the resort announced redundancies. Then reported to employ 290, the business confirmed it was consulting workers on job cuts, but would not say how many.

Millbrook Country Club first got a $1.9m Government wage subsidy for 290 staff last year, then a $914,643 extension for 200 staff and finally a $244,834 resurgence wage subsidy for 213 people.

This month, the resort said the upgrade would make way for new golf cart storage barns and cart wash-down facilities.

A 25m-wide tree-lined boulevard between the new cart barns and golf shop would be a shared space for pedestrians, golf carts and vehicles from the reception area to the spa, health and fitness centre and the new Coronet golf course.

Golf shop alterations and renovations are planned too. French doors will open onto a new deck towards the starters’ area and the shop will get a new fitout.

An improved arrival court near the reception building is to create a larger and safer forecourt with views over the new practise putting green and towards The Remarkables.

Significant landscaping by Baxter Design and a new porters’ shed are also planned.

Ben O’Malley, Millbrook’s director of property and development, said the latest project was part of a continued investment scheme.

In 2014, Millbrook bought the neighbouring Dalgliesh Farm and started planning a $50m expansion.

In 2018, work began on a new nine-hole golf course to allow Millbrook to become a 36-hole golf course. The final nine holes have been built but can’t be played on until the $4m upgrade is finished.

Alongside the new holes are 42 house lots, 24 are on the upper plateau and 18 lower down. No houses have yet been built on the sections.

Work is nearly complete on that $50m Mill Farm area of Millbrook with the new golf holes and two residential neighbourhoods.

The 67ha site will be the highest commercial golf tee in the country at 480m above sea level, the resort business says.

“We continue to invest in the resort’s long-term future and the timing could not be better to carry out this work in the build-up to next summer and the 2022 New Zealand Open,” O’Malley said.

The $4m work is due for completion by December.

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