Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Gapes back in control of Springpark project

Developer set to return to running NZ’s most intensive affordable housing plan after settling company debt

The first stage of the new affordable housing project, Springpark in Mt Wellington, is set to be completed next year.
The first stage of the new affordable housing project, Springpark in Mt Wellington, is set to be completed next year.

Tony Gapes is set to take back control of New Zealand's most intensive affordable housing project after receivers last night confirmed the property developer has settled a company debt.

Some 420 apartments and townhouses are planned for the Springpark estate on a 10.5ha site in Auckland's Mt Wellington. The first stage is expected to be completed next year.

Springpark is seen as an affordable homes project, with townhouses in stage one priced from $399,000 to $554,000. Most have already sold.

One of the companies developing Springpark, Panama Road Developments, was put into receivership in late April by Crown Finance, said to be owed $2 million. Panama Road Developments is directed by Auckland-based Gapes.

The receivers, Steve Tietjens and Kevin Gillespie, had put out a tender and were advertising to find another developer to complete Springpark, but Gapes is now set to take back control after repaying the debt to Crown.

Tietjens confirmed last night that Crown had been repaid, as had the receivers for funds used to settle the land for stage one of Springpark.

Tietjens said he would file to terminate the receivership with the Companies Office this morning.

"What happens in a situation like this is the various loans are repaid, he [Gapes] takes control of the company, we retire," he said.

Gapes said that he now had full development funding for all 154 houses in the project's first stage.

"It's all approved and ready to go ... there's about three to four months' worth of civil works that need doing that we need to stage, then we'll be into the hard construction," Gapes said.

Chris Arbuckle, chief executive of Takapuna-based Crown, in May made no apologies for putting Panama Road Developments in receivership and demanded Gapes repay money he owed. Arbuckle indicated his firm's decision to call in the receivers was taken as a defensive, prudent stance.

Crown, founded by richlister John Copson, had been funding Springpark's first stage.

Springpark
• Planned Mt Wellington affordable housing estate.
• Not an Auckland Housing Accord Special Housing Area.
• Pre-sales $399,000 to $554,000.
• Tony Gapes plans to build 424 apartments or townhouses.
• Buying Zealandia Horticulture site at 33 Panama Rd, 98-100 Hillside Rd, Mt Wellington Highway, 11 Ryburn St.
• 10% pre-purchase deposits taken on most of first stage.

- NZ Herald

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