There are a few sayings about property in this country, like "location, location, location" and "land - they're not making any more of it".
But one car dealer, whose property development project didn't quite turn out as he initially expected, has something new to say: "Property is never a mistake in New Zealand."
Deon Cooper and his father, former -Taupo mayor Rick Cooper, have been in the motor vehicle trading business in this country for years, the duo reportedly selling out of their Hyundai dealership and investing $10m in another South Korean brand a few years ago.
Deon Cooper is managing director of Great Lake Motor Distributors, which imports and distributes utes and SUVs built by Korea's SsangYong, and vans built by China's LDV.
And he once had big plans for a North Shore site, although as you'll soon learn, did not quite pan out.
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Around 2017 - "I can't quite remember when exactly" - the Coopers' company Dealership Properties bought a valuable prominent undeveloped North Shore site at 281-289 Albany Highway.
That land had such high exposure to the busy Albany Highway on its front doorstep that special safety measures were installed to control vehicles exiting from the private land, Cooper said.
"It must be one of the one sites in New Zealand with its own traffic lights," Cooper said. How unusual was that? "It was like that when we bought it. It was a prerequisite with special pressure pads."
With plans to get more exposure and sell his brands from the busy highway, Cooper had plans drawn up for new office showroom with warehousing. He then struck a contract with Cleave Building & Civil.
It took some time, but eventually, a state-of-the-art high volume showroom and display area rose. It had internal offices, loading access from the north side, a big concreted yard for parking, display and storage of more than 50 vehicles.
Autotalk reported: "Great Lake Motor Distributors is to build an impressive new state of the art, purpose-built showroom in Albany, on Auckland's North Shore, to house the SsangYong and LDV vehicle brands. It will be GLMD owned and operated – falling under the Vehicle Logistics Ltd group of companies which operates dealerships in Henderson, Takanini, Taupo and Wellington."
"I suppose we spent about $8.5m," Cooper recalls. "It took a long time to develop. Then we got a very good dealer in Greenlane who we didn't have at the time [of the Albany development].
"So the board decided to lease the Albany property to someone else. We had anticipated putting the Korean brands at that site, but Auckland Vehicles in Greenlane was selling so many vehicles into that area, to add another one was not the responsible thing to do."
Barfoot & Thompson agents Paul Vermaak and David Goodhue are now advertising the ex-new vehicle showroom as possibly a homewares display or head office premises.
Cooper says a supermarket or electrical company might be keen and he'll talk to anyone who offers around $300,000 to $400,000/year rent, depending on how much work is needed to finish the fit-out to a new tenants' requirements.
So was Albany an $8.5m - therefore very expensive - mistake?
"No, definitely not. Leading up to the lockdown we had people interested in leasing it. Barfoots were only engaged to lease it in March and there's been the lockdowns since then. We didn't sell many cars in April."
And ever-positive, Cooper concludes: "If Covid hadn't happened, it would have been leased to someone by now."