A prime commercial property near Kerikeri with a convoluted history — including abandoned plans for a $30 million "cultural trade centre" — is back on the market after previously being sold in a 2011 liquidation sale.
The 4.2ha property, on State Highway 10 just south of the Kerikeri roundabout, is for sale by tender through Bayleys Kerikeri. Tenders close on October 25.
The land currently has seven tenants with a mix of residential, retail and light industrial uses.
Originally a horticulture-themed tourist attraction called The Orange Centre, Kerikeri investors Michael Perkins and Jonathan Hiscock bought the land in 2003.
In 2008, they announced plans for what would have been the single biggest investment Kerikeri had seen, a $30m Northland Cultural Trade Centre with a 60-room hotel, information centre, cafe, service station, spa, conference centre and a trade hall showcasing Northland produce, art and crafts.
However, the plan was knocked back in 2010 by independent commissioners acting for the Far North District Council, who said the proposal would harm the area's landscape and rural character, and was too big for the site.
Perkins and Hiscock appealed to the Environment Court and halved the size of the hotel to 30 rooms. They also moved the complex 50m from the boundary and reduced the height of the hotel, which had been designed in Australian colonial style, from three storeys to two.
While they eventually won approval for the scaled-down proposal, their timing was unlucky with the Global Financial Crisis hitting New Zealand from 2008.
Perkins was later bankrupted by his UK-based brother in a bitter family feud and the Orange Centre site was sold in a liquidation sale in 2011 to a Taiwan-based investor. He paid $650,000, the same as Perkins and Hiscock paid eight years earlier.
Bayleys Kerikeri salesman Anthony Van Gessel said the site's location, flat topography and dated buildings made it prime for redevelopment.
"The current owners had ambitious visions for developing the site off the back of the region's growing tourism visitor numbers. However, the owners now realise that bringing their vision to fruition requires more resources and time than they possess," Van Gessel said.
The Environment Court consents were valid until 2021 and could be extended further, he said.
The consents allowed for, among other things, a 120-delegate conference centre, a trade centre and 40-seat theatre open seven days a week, a service station, and a cafe for up to 52 patrons.