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Skyline to spend ‘north of $100m’ upgrading iconic gondola

 Skyline Queenstown is finalising detail on a project to upgrade the tourism mecca's iconic gondola service in a project that chairman Mark Quickfall says will require "north of $100 million" of new investment.

The project reached a significant milestone yesterday with an Environment Court decision to grant a resource consent for the project, which will install a new "state-of-the-art" gondola system, expand the complex at the top of the gondola, and add a new lower building and a 449-space carpark near the base terminal. It sits on the outskirts of one of New Zealand's busiest international and domestic tourist precincts.

Trading on the Unlisted platform, Skyline Queenstown will fund the project from a mixture of cash on its own balance sheet and bank debt.

“This is a fantastic result for the Queenstown community and the New Zealand tourism industry as a whole,” general manager Wayne Rose said in a statement. 

“This project is vital to ensure we cater to the demand of our visitors, as well as providing a premium facility that Queenstown locals can use and enjoy. It will enable us to step into the future not only as one of NZ’s most popular leisure facilities, but as one of the world’s top leisure tourism attractions.”

The redevelopment of Skyline Queenstown, which includes the gondola, a luge facility, viewing deck and mountain biking tracks, will increase the capacity for gondola passengers at the base terminal and "improve the overall guest experience" with additional services and amenities, the company's statement said.

New 10-seat Doppelmayr cabins will be installed for the gondola, there will be a 650-seat restaurant with a flexible configuration for multiple dining options. Conference facilities will accommodate more than 700 guests, and there will be a new café and additional retail space. The viewing deck will be enlarged by more than six times its current 68 square-metres to 430 square-metres.

Detailed planning is already underway, with first construction activity scheduled for later this year.

Skyline units last traded at 25 cents, having traded as high as 30 cents in the past year, giving it a current market capitalisation of $851.2 million.

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