A sprawling clifftop property owned by party pills godfather Matt Bowden has been sold by mortgagee sale to a prominent Auckland investor for $600,000 below its CV.
Mr Bowden's former empire - including a property portfolio valued at about $5 million - is being sold off bit by bit as liquidators try to recoup at least $1.42 million he owes in debt, including an $850,000 bill to IRD.
A North Shore waterfront property at 80 Cliff Rd, Torbay fetched $1.985 million under the hammer today at a Henderson auction room. Mr Bowden paid $2.55 million for the 3500sq m property in February 2013 and it has a current CV of $2.6 million.
It came with a two-bedroom turreted "lighthouse" bach that was used as a holiday home by the previous owner. Mr Bowden had hoped to build a dream home and rehabilitation centre on the site before a law change torpedoed the legal highs industry, sending his business into liquidation.
Another of Mr Bowden's properties - a four-bedroom 1960s house at 66 Carlisle Rd in Browns Bay - was also forcibly sold today, fetching $895,000. It has a CV of $750,000.
A third property - a modern four-bedroom home on the rural outskirts of Auckland with a CV of $1.46 million - is due to be sold by mortgagee sale on Friday.
Mr Bowden is known for introducing party pills to New Zealand. He later moved into importing and manufacturing synthetic cannabis. He also makes music under the stage name Starboy.
His Stargate Operations company is in liquidation owing $1.42 million to unsecured creditors, and First Mortgage Trust put the three properties owned by Mr Bowden and his wife Kristi up for mortgagee sale earlier this year.
Speaking moments after the hammer fell on the Cliff Rd property, Mr Bowden said he was "shocked" at the sale price. He had expected the property to at least sell for CV.
He told the Herald he had investors who wanted him to develop medical marijuana products, "so selling the properties will help me get closer to that".
"Feels like I got punished for synthetic cannabis products that weren't mine, and I obviously ruffled feathers speaking out against alcohol. But at the end of the day money has never been important to me and moving forwards we will continue to operate in the community's interest, building not for profit projects, that is my direction for future research."
Harcourts agent David Savery said the Cliff Rd phone-bidding buyer was a "well known Auckland property investor" in the hotel industry who planned to landbank the property.
"He believed there's only so much waterfront land close to Auckland CBD which is a blank canvass and that's what attracted him to the site. The dream hasn't been realised [yet].
"He may look to develop himself but more than likely he will landbank and hold it as an investment."
Asked about the selling price, Mr Savery said the property sold at the reserve threshold.
Mortgagee sales were rare with Auckland's current buoyant housing market but often attracted a discount. The property had been well marketed over four weeks. Thirty parties viewed it during open homes and there were nine registered bidders.
"Sometimes there's a discount associated with the mortgagee process and I'd suggest we had relatively short settlement terms here you had to meet and a very much 'as is where is' with no vendor warrantees, so it has affected the purchase price."
Potential buyers also had to consider the cost and logistics of building on a clifftop site, Mr Savery said.
"The vendor had tried to sell the property prior to the bank getting involved and hadn't been able to successfully."
Mr Bowden, who has two young children, previously told the Herald his lab had been sold by liquidators along with with his recording studio, costume company and other assets.
He said he was now living "frugally" and considering a move overseas.