A Chinese-owned firm is creating nearly 600 new housing lots at Orewa after paying rich listers Peter and Joanna Masfen $40 million for the land.

Changda International New Zealand, 60 per cent owned by the People's Republic of China and part of the Changda construction and development business, got Overseas Investment Office consent to buy 37ha of land on Sunnyheights Rd, Orewa from the Masfens.

Dao Yang, Changda's finance and HR manager based at Albany, said last week that work was well under way to establish sites for new houses on the land where group builders Signature and Golden Homes had bought. The project is Pacific Heights.

"We are creating 574 residential sites," Yang said of the property at 207 West Hoe Heights.

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Changda needed OIO consent to buy because the land was classified as sensitive and Yang said it had extensive stands of native bush.

Peter Masfen, a prominent Auckland businessman, appeared on this year's NBR Rich List with an estimated $530m fortune. Masfen Group owns shares, private equity and property. It is managed by the Masfens' son, Rolf.

Peter Masfen, a prominent Auckland businessman, appeared on this year's NBR Rich List with an estimated $530m fortune. Photo / File
Peter Masfen, a prominent Auckland businessman, appeared on this year's NBR Rich List with an estimated $530m fortune. Photo / File

Rolf Masfen of Masfen Group said: "After a long period of ownership, investment company Sunnyheights Ltd decided to sell the property at Orewa to an experienced developer, who would bring a large number of sections and houses to the market helping to satisfy increasing demand for housing in Auckland."

Changda's plans for Pacific Gardens, Great South Rd in Manukau.
Changda's plans for Pacific Gardens, Great South Rd in Manukau.

Changda is headquartered in Weifang City, in Shandong Province between Beijing and Shanghai. It has an annual $5b turnover.

In Manukau, Changda bought 9.5ha of land at 834 Great South Rd where it plans 1100 residences in higher-density apartment and terraced blocks. Stage one, with 23 terraced homes and 21 apartments, is well under way.

Studio (no bedroom) units are being marketed from $350,000 for 40sq m, up to $750,000 for three-bedroom apartments. Terraced residences are selling from $725,000 to $995,000 in the first stage.

Changda's plans for Pacific Gardens, Manukau. Photo / Supplied
Changda's plans for Pacific Gardens, Manukau. Photo / Supplied

"We're targeting local people, not Chinese," Yang said of that project. At their highest point, blocks will rise on the site beside the Vodafone Events Centre up to eight levels facing Great South Rd and Yang said the site was zoned a Special Housing Area so 10 per cent of homes must be affordable.

Changda set up here after a director travelled to New Zealand as a tourist "and noticed houses needing refurbishment and that Auckland needs more houses," Yang said.

Property records show Changda has a mortgage to China Construction Bank Corporation NZ on 6ha of land at 834 Great South Rd which it bought for $35m on June 3, 2016.