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Property funder Triumph Capital is the mystery party behind the redevelopment of Auckland's Victoria Park Market.
It is underwriting a consortium of local and overseas investors in a $25 million project to revamp the dilapidated market into a destination shopping precinct, restaurant and nightclub zone.
Triumph was set up in 2008 by directors of the failed finance company, Strategic Finance. One of its more significant projects to date has been the Hilton Lake Taupo, opened last year.
Director Mark French said it had four investors on board but was looking for six to 12 investors. "People can invest at whatever level they feel comfortable," he said.
The sale of the market to the Triumph syndicate for $21.6 million in June has been controversial because of the ongoing involvement of beleaguered property developer David Henderson.
Henderson, best known for developing the Hilton on Princes Wharf and his enormous penthouse apartment at the top of the complex, owes his creditors an estimated $160 million.
He bought the market in 2004 for $14.1 million and the redevelopment has been planned ever since. He is staying on as development manager of the project.
Six of his companies were wound up by the Inland Revenue Department last week including Victoria Park, the company that had owned the site. Westpac, which had two mortgages over the property and has lent again to the new owners, had recovered what it was owed, Henderson said.
But there are are unlikely to be funds for unsecured creditors, many of whom are outraged over Henderson's continuing involvement.
Henderson has put forward a scheme of arrangement to his creditors, offering to repay them about 6 cents in the dollar.
He said more than 90 per cent of them had approved the deal but IRD and one Australian lender were opposing it. The matter comes before the High Court again later this month.
Continuing with his development work was the way he was going repay anything, he said.
"In simple terms, I could have just gone bankrupt. But I am at least going to contribute some money back. For all of my sins there are still people out there that believe I'm capable of doing something."
Triumph had put together a syndicated equity model that would be used more often in property development, he predicted. The old days of funding a deal with mezzanine finance - where finance companies take out second and third mortgages on a development at high interest rates - were largely over.
French said Henderson had extensive knowledge of the project and dealt with things such as applications for resource consents which went back more than three years. "It seemed crazy when we have someone available to us [like that] not to retain his services."
Westpac had provided a development funding package, with the Triumph syndicate contributing a set amount.
About half the market had already been leased and CMP Construction - headed by Ron Macrae, a longtime Henderson associate - were due to start within the month.
The project would take 10 months and was timed to be ready for the Rugby World Cup.
"I hope the focus shifts from scepticism around David's involvement to how good the redevelopment will be," French said.