An American multimillionaire philanthropic couple have taken the first tangible steps in a radical revamp of the campground in Glenorchy, New Zealand, the Otago Daily Times reported.

Paul and Debbi Brainerd this week applied for resource consent for the first phase of their plans, which they say will apply the “toughest sustainable design principles in the world.”

The first step came on New Year’s Day, when they reopened the former campground store as the Glenorchy General Store, offering fresh groceries to locals for the first time in decades.

The couple, who have a home at the nearby exclusive Wyuna subdivision, bought the run-down, four-acre Glenorchy Holiday Park last March, and have subsequently bought four surrounding properties to add scale to their vision.

They will upgrade the eight-acre site in three phases. Once completed, it will accommodate up to 120 people in buildings using half the energy and water of conventional structures.

The first phase, an upgraded campground, is expected to open early next year, by which time construction of phase two should begin.

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