Tycoon buys $11m home but complains about NZ taxes

By Anne Gibson

An Indian businessman has paid a record price for an apartment, parting with $11 million for a new Auckland penthouse.

But high taxes mean he may spend little time there.

Mike Panjwani - who has business interestsin New Zealand, India, Singapore, Europe and Dubai - has bought levels 29 and 30 of the Sentinel apartment block in Takapuna.

Mr Panjwani has bought the apartment unconditionally, but will not be moving in until early next year because the property is a shell.

Speaking from Singapore yesterday, Mr Panjwani said he might only spend a few weeks a year in the penthouse.

"We don't know how much time we're spending there. My family can't afford to spend months in New Zealand. The taxes are very high."

Some Sentinel units have sold more than once, and units that fetched around $900,000 originally had resold for more than $1 million.

The 117-unit tower will open in December.

The two penthouse levels are connected via an internal staircase. The unit was sold with a dedicated lift, four basement carparks, lap pool, spa and large glass-walled decks.

Barfoot & Thompson agent Wayne Muir, who acted for Mr Panjwani, said the businessman was impressed with the seaside suburb.

"He sees Takapuna as a premiere urban seaside location and was impressed by the quality and location of the Sentinel."

The penthouse is yet to be fitted out, but will have a combination of bespoke hand-crafted carpet and natural stone flooring.

Apartment walls will be able to be moved, and the apartment will include a home theatre, motorised windows, gas fireplaces, underfloor heating and large deck areas.

Mr Panjwani has owned a house in St Marys Bay, central Auckland, for a number of years. Two years ago, he sold a collection of large Auckland investment buildings worth more than $25 million through his company Empress Leisure to apartment specialist Blue Chip.

The sale means property developer David Henderson's Princes Wharf apartment is now the most expensive penthouse on the market.

That apartment, which went on the market earlier this year and was tipped to fetch $10 million, remains unsold. The apartment occupies the entire top level of the Princes Wharf block above the Hilton Hotel.

Businessman Colin Giltrap is understood to have set the previous apartment price record for a penthouse in Lighter Quay's North, on Auckland's waterfront.

Mr Giltrap previously lived for about 20 years in a Herne Bay waterfront home that he sold four years ago for $7.2 million.

MILLION-DOLLAR DREAMS

* Most expensive apartment for sale: $10 million Princes Wharf penthouse owned by property developer David Henderson.

* Most expensive house (not for sale): Graeme and Robyn Hart's sprawling $20 million Glendowie mansion.

* Most expensive property for sale: Pakatoa Island, Hauraki Gulf, $35 million, owned by businessman John Ramsey of Crusader Meats.

* Next most expensive: Cowes Bay estate on Waiheke Island, $30 million, 36ha with 1200sq m plantation-style mansion

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