• Springpark was touted as Auckland's biggest affordable housing estate
• However financial difficulties dogged the project
• Wilshire Group has now taken over
• Places to sell from $595,000 to $800,000-plus
• Work there about to resmue
Private investor Wilshire Group has bought the troubled Springpark housing estate in Auckland from receivers.
Mark Peldmanis, Wilshire general manager, said an offer for the Mt Wellington property made to receivers at Grant Thornton was accepted last week and had now gone unconditional.
Springpark has been held up as Auckland's most affordable mass housing project, but financial issues have dogged its progress.
Last month, it was revealed that the company behind Tony Gapes' housing project owed a Singapore lender $26.8 million.
Gapes' Panama Road Developments was working on 140 residences near Sylvia Park but was placed into receivership by its Asian financier in early December.
Grant Thornton receivers Richard Simpson and David Ruscoe stopped work on the project and said they would refund the depositors who paid $7.3 million up front for a new residence there.
Altogether, about 420 residences are planned on the 10.5ha Panama Rd site and building work is advanced on the first places.
We will be re-starting civil construction work in about three months once we settle on the land. The building of the houses will get underway a couple of months after that. It will be a four-year project and ultimately the site will accommodate 450 to 500 new houses.
Wilshire was only established last year but says it has a $150 million portfolio of commercial and residential property. Leo Li is its managing director and Vincent Wan is its non-executive director.
Wilshire says Springpark will be a mixture of terraced and town houses and possibly some low-rise three level apartments. Dwellings will range in size from 99sq m with two bedrooms to 145sq m with four or five bedrooms, it said.
Peldmanis said site works would resume soon.
"We will be re-starting civil construction work in about three months once we settle on the land. The building of the houses will get underway a couple of months after that. It will be a four-year project and ultimately the site will accommodate 450 to 500 new houses," he said.
Prices for the new houses are yet to be determined but they will be somewhat higher than those promoted by the previous developer.
Peldmanis said two-bedroom terraced residences on 130sq m plots of land and built in blocks of two to seven residences would sell from $595,000. Residences with up to five bedrooms and a single garage would sell from $800,000-plus, he said. Those could be on sections as large as 600sq m, he said.
A company statement gave more details.
"Wilshire is talking to a range of contractors and is currently focused on getting the project restarted rather than trying to pre-sell any of the houses. Architects Jasmax have already been engaged to develop the master plan for Stage 2. Wilshire had already bought Stage 2 and 3 of the development from the previous developer in August 2015. In December, Stage 1 went into receivership and today's announcement now sees the entire development under Wilshire's ownership. The purchase price is confidential," Wilshire's statement said.
"Prices for the new houses have yet to be determined but they will be somewhat higher than those promoted by the previous developer."
Peldmanis said residences "will still be reasonably priced, quality homes interspersed with open spaces but, given the rising cost of construction and housing in New Zealand, the previous offer prices are simply not viable. Having said that, we want to make sure they are within reach of the many New Zealanders keen to buy their own home so the prices will be realistic and accessible."
Some people who pre-bought properties for the initial scheme have told Wilshire they want to proceed and the company has offered them a discount on the final price will be. Other purchasers in Stage two and three chose to have their deposit returned - which has already happened.
Wilshire says it is actively seeking more residential development opportunities across Auckland, aiming is for at least 300 new residences a year.