A pair of Wellington sex industry magnates appear set to make Auckland their home, with the purchase of a $6.65 million house in the city.
The Hong Kong-born Chow brothers plan to build a 15-storey brothel and hotel near the Sky Tower, and they have bought 5 Fenton Circus in Orakei to use as a base.
Company records show the house above Paritai Drive was purchased through NZ Project 7, of which Ka-ming Chow (John) and Ka-yu Chow (Michael) are both directors.
The 647sq m concrete home with harbour views sits on a 1393sq m section and has five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a swimming pool.
It sold for $650,000 above its capital value of $6 million and the annual rates bill is currently $16,139.
It used to belong to multimillionaire property developer Tony Gapes, but the sale was hindered when his ex-wife Nicola Gapes put a caveat and notice of claim on the property.
But the sale was given the green light by the High Court in December.
Bayleys real estate agent Gary Wallace would not discuss the new owners. "It's a quality home in a great location that attracted a good quality interest from a range of buyers."
The Chow brothers, who usually stay at Albert St's Stamford Plaza when they are in Auckland, are widely known in Wellington through their investment in strip clubs and brothels, including The Mermaid, Il-Bordello and Splash. Through their company PHVS Project, they were granted resource consent for their "mega-brothel" in Victoria St on the former grounds of the Palace Hotel, which was demolished after large cracks appeared in its walls.
The Herald can also reveal that despite an initial 200 objections, the Environment Court has not had any appeals against the decision. Submitters had 15 working days to do so.
Auckland Council spokesman Nigel Horrocks said the Chows could now start building when they wanted.
"There's been absolutely no appeal whatsoever, so that appeal has now lapsed and it is now up to PHVS Project Ltd to do whatever they plan to do ... They now have permission to construct a 15-storey building."
The venture brings to 10 the number of brothels in the central city, including two others in the same vicinity of the SkyCity casino.
Neither the Chows nor lawyer Russell Bartlett returned calls yesterday.