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Michael Hill Plans Underground Homes On NZ Golf Course

By Sarah Matheson
Epoch Times Auckland staff
Jun 25, 2007

GOLF ANYONE? Representation of a 'Hills' house, the underground legacy Michael Hill wants to leave at his golf course in Arrowtown, near Queenstown. (Mark Hill)
GOLF ANYONE? Representation of a 'Hills' house, the underground legacy Michael Hill wants to leave at his golf course in Arrowtown, near Queenstown. (Mark Hill)


Luxury homes, built 80 percent below ground level, is the latest venture planned by jewellery mogul Michael Hill.

Mr Hill has applied to build 17 subterranean homes on his exclusive 340-acre (138ha) golf course The Hills, at Arrowtown, near Queenstown the site of the New Zealand Open for the next three years.

Six homes will be on the course, the other 11 will be built on surrounding land. Three of the 17 will replace existing structures.

The project could take up to 10 years, he said.

"The whole idea is for the houses to merge into the landscape," Mr Hill said. "If we can get them to remain nearly invisible then we've achieved what we want for the site."

"This is also our family's backyard and or brief to the architects was that we did not want to see the houses but rather come stumble on them when we are out for a walk with the dog."

His vision is to leave a legacy for the area.

Auckland-based architect Andrew Patterson designed the buildings and the course's clubhouse. Each home will be between 367 and 700 square metres, with turf and pebble roofs.

The sites will be sold as house and land packages and owners will have little room to modify the exterior of the buildings or the landscape.

Mr Hill pleased the New Zealand Open's Australian promoters by agreeing to waive the six-figure fee charged by the former venue, Gulf Harbour. Over the last two years, The Open has made a combined loss of about $1.2 million.

Promoters expect to break even this year and with a new South Island venue they also expect a resurgence of interest in the event.

The Hills golf course was completed only recently after five years of development.

Mr Hill's fortune was estimated at $150 million by National Business Review's Rich List last year. He is the sole member of the golf club and very few people have played on his course.

The lucky few have been friends and some of New Zealand's top golfers, including legendary left hander Sir Bob Charles and former European PGA high profile player Greg Turner.


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