G.J. Gardner Homes opened its first franchise in New Zealand 23 years ago and based on independent research, has become New Zealand’s Most Trusted Home Builder for consecutive years. That’s something Nick Tapper, G.J. Gardner’s franchisee for both Queenstown and Wanaka/Central Otago, is extremely proud of.
Nick has lived in the area for coming up to ten years, and set up both franchises from scratch. Nick and his team have handed over almost 500 houses in that time. “All our staff and all our trades and suppliers are local,” he says. “We also tend to deal with New Zealand made products – because of warranties and back-ups.”
“One of the things we really like about the new Wooing Tree development is its aspect and its location – being among the vines, looking out over the mountains and the proximity to the lake. It’s a wonderful spot,”
“The attention to detail around the owners’ vision and the master plan is also very attractive. The design controls that have been created around the design of homes and their materiality have been well thought through. They are of a very high standard, but also give enough flexibility for people to still make choices – not too rigid, but enough in there to be creative. We build a lot of homes at Jack’s Point, so we are very familiar and comfortable working within the constraints of strict design guidelines,” adds Nick.
Talking about the process of building with G.J. Gardner, Nick says his team starts from scratch with every client. “Ninety-five percent of the homes we build are bespoke – that’s just the nature of the market down here. We start from the ground up to suit the site and its aspect, then adapt one of our floor plans – of which we have around 130 well-priced and well-tested plans that are already in the system – to meet the design controls of the development.”
G.J. Gardner employs a full-time interior architect to help with space layout, colours, interior design and specifications. There are three levels of specification: Express, Classic or Premium – each sitting at a specific price point. “These specifications are all interchangeable,” says Nick. “It’s all about finding out where the dollar can be maximised to suit a client’s taste and budget.”
A base level of landscaping is also included with the house, in conjunction with and to compliment Wooing Tree’s master plan. “In the past, we’ve gifted trees to clients – as a memento of when they first moved into their home. With Wooing Tree, it may be more appropriate to gift a Pinot Noir or Sav Blanc vine to crawl around their pergola’” smiles Nick.
On Cromwell itself, Nick says he thinks that the area appeals to a large cross section of the population. “You’ve got everything right on your doorstep – you’ve got fishing, hiking and biking, you’ve got great wineries, and you’ve got all the ski fields. But at the same time, you’re away from the bustle of Queenstown and Wanaka. And people aren’t necessarily looking for that any more.”
He can see Wooing Tree being popular with young families coming out of Queenstown, people coming up from Dunedin and down from Auckland, and from Christchurch, too – investing in an area that is going to see accelerated growth. “It’s a place to settle once you’ve done your hard work. When the kids have gone to university and you’re looking at getting away and rewarding yourself with time up your sleeve.”
“If you’re looking for a great place to live, or a bolthole to get away from it all, it ticks quite a few boxes,” says Nick. “We obviously believe in the development because we have invested in land and intend to build a show home there – and it’s one that we are very excited about.”