• Premium - Maketu Pies in receivership, community devastated: 'It has employed so much of Maketu'
• Bay of Plenty business Spice Traders forced to shut doors
• Tower Cranes NZ placed in receivership
• Local iwi saves Maketu Pies: Te Arawa Lakes Trust new owner
A Rotorua couple had exciting plans for the "gorgeous" 16ha piece of land with lake views. But sadly these dreams have been left in tatters. So what happened? Business reporter Zoe Hunter investigates.
It was a business venture that just didn't work out.
The prime piece of land overlooking Lake Rotorua on Fryer Rd was supposed to be a wellness retreat.
Instead the developers' company is in receivership owing nearly $2 million and the land has to be sold.
Muiread and Wallace Douglas established Douglas Property Developments Limited in December 2008 and bought the 16.384 ha lifestyle block and 240sq m home in 2009.
The couple were subdividing the section and planned to build a wellness retreat.
But in 2015, Wallace was diagnosed with a thymoma tumour - a type of tumour that affects the thymus, an organ between the lungs that is part of the lymphatic and immune systems.
It meant he had to stop work.
Rotorua Lakes Council granted resource consent in August 2017 for 15 lots to be built in a two-stage subdivision on the site.
Muiread said they were only given 12 months by a third-tier lender to complete stage one. Third-tier lenders are finance companies (other than those that offer exclusive business finance), pawnbrokers and mobile lending trucks that provide credit.
It was not enough time.
She believed people needed to be aware of this type of lending and do their homework before signing up.
"There isn't anyone to blame, it was just a timing thing. It was a business venture that didn't quite work out the way we wanted it to work out," she said.
The delays in progressing the subdivision meant receivers were appointed for their company on September 3.
The first receiver's report showed the company owed $1.97m plus accrued interest and $0.1m to unsecured creditors.
Real estate company Bayleys has been appointed to sell the property under receivership.
"We will need to pay everything back and move somewhere else. It is just the way it is," Muiread said.
"We have to do right by everyone. That is the only way we can move forward and to know that we have done the best we can."
Despite losing her dream of building a wellness retreat, Muiread remains positive and said things could have been worse.
She still gets to live life with her husband Wallace, who has since recovered from the tumour.
Muiread said there had been a lot of interest in the property from people all over the Bay of Plenty and as far as Auckland.
A therapist for 20 years, Muiread said the intention was always to build a wellness retreat for people living with cancer or diabetes, or who were stressed and just needed a place to rest.
Muiread said her husband Wallace grew up in Rotorua and had full support from the local iwi to build on the land.
"It was supposed to be a place to come and rest and restore and get back to optimum health and so for their families to be with them if needed," she said.
"But that doesn't mean we can't do it again. We just rebuild from here. It is not about failure. It is about taking that learning and not taking anything personal."
The company did not have any employees and its only asset was the 16.3840ha lifestyle block of land that includes a 240sq m residential home.
"The land is gorgeous," Muiread said. "You can see the whole of the lake from every part of the land. It is really special. That is why we bought it."
The details concerning the value of the property have been left out of the receiver's report.
Including that detail would "materially prejudice the exercise of our functions and in particular our duty to obtain the best price reasonably obtainable for the sale of the receivership property", the report said.
The receivers have met with the company's representatives and solicitors and have secured creditors and substantiated the amounts owing.
They have also taken legal advice on a range of issues and reported to the appointer.
When asked what legal advice was taken, receiver Andrew McKay said the advice was taken in order for the receivers to "complete our role" and would not expand any further.
McKay also would not say who the appointer was, saying it was "not necessary or required for the purposes of receivership".
He described the unsecured creditors that the company owed $0.1m to as "various service providers".
The receivers are running a tender process with Bayleys Rotorua/Auckland, which closes on November 28.