In one of the most startling examples of Auckland’s volatile apartment market, a financier has told a receiver to sell 11 blocks of partly-built West Auckland units with 82 units.
Companies Office records show Vincent Capital had Brendon Gibson and Neale Jackson of Calibre Partners appointed receivers of Treasure Plus which owns 170-174 Te Atatū Rd, being developed intensely but not yet finished.
The project, named Dawn Park, was advertised as being due for completion this year.
“The dominos are falling,” said one commenter of the startling advertisement, images showing all 11 blocks wrapped in protective covers.
The units in adjoining blocks are at three addresses, making up a 7059sq m site, less than 1ha.
High interest rates and rising costs of labour and materials are being cited in the sector as possible reasons for the distressed sale.
Colliers’ Blair Peterken and Josh Coburn are advertising “this semi-complete” complex, drawing comments from industry observers that the property might have been worth more without the now-deserted buildings.
“Take advantage of the market timing, which has seen the residential market rebound and show signs of solid growth in 2024, to acquire and complete this well-located development,” Colliers encourages.
“Overlooking the Te Atatū South Park and enjoying both the westerly aspect looking out at the Waitākere Ranges and the close proximity to SH1, the 82 residential units under construction will represent one of the fastest-to-market opportunities in Auckland,” ads say.
None of the three-level blocks have lifts. All are advertised as “walk-up blocks” with eight one-bedroom, 68 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom units, parking and bike storage.
Albany-headquartered builder McCore Group named itself as the head contractor and showed images of the project on its site. But Mike Gibson of McCore said that the business had not worked there for about 18 months.
Vincent had the receivers appointed on September 27. Vincent markets itself as offering “fair, fast and flexible property finance... making property development financing simpler by streamlining the whole process online, saving you time, paperwork and emails”.
In a second strike on October 30, an unnamed creditor claiming $239,000 had Daniel Zhang of Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Auckland appointed as the company’s voluntary administrator, Companies Office records show.
So two separate insolvency practitioners are now working on Treasure Plus.
No initial reports are showing on the Companies Office so what went wrong remains unclear until those emerge.
Treasure Plus was incorporated nine years ago, says it is in the business of “building residential - flats, home units, apartment, etc” and is owned by Xianzhen Huang of Cliff Rd, St Heliers and Shaohuan Liu of Forrest Hill.
Auckland Council values 170 Te Atatū Rd at $4.9m, 172 Te Atatū Rd at $2.5m and 174 Te Atatū Rd at $2.4m.
One sector observer warned: “It is a wake-up call for anyone pushing the Auckland intensify agenda: creating habitable space with the largest number of dwellings per unit area allowed by council is not good for the city.”
Advertising is headlined “take advantage of progress”.
The site is pictured looking as though builders have just left. A green portaloo, building equipment, scaffolding, skips, temporary site office, timber, pipes, rolls of insulation and colour-coded wallboard stacked in piles are shown in the images.
Timber framing is up, complete with plumbing and electrical. Internal stairs have been built.
Real estate agencies were seeking 10 per cent deposits from buyers. An ad called Dawn Park “top-of-the-market 82 quality homes with a modern seamless design”.
How many people have paid those 10 per cent deposits is unknown.
The project’s failure is unusual because it wasn’t the builder that went under. In other cases of abandoned building sites, it’s the construction business which has struggled financially.
But in this case, property owner Treasure Plus sparked Vincent’s move to call in the receiver.
In April, the failure of the Scarbro businesses left five big Auckland building sites partly finished.
Scarbro Construction Holdings, Scarbro Build and Scarbro Construction were placed into liquidation on April 6, seeing staff leave the retail and housing sites including two for state housing provider Kāinga Ora.
Andrew Grenfell of McGrathNicol said sites at Matakana, Northcote, Glenfield, Mt Wellington and Grey Lynn were being transferred out of the control of the Scarbro businesses.
On November 7, the Herald reported the mass marketing of two new Takapuna apartment buildings, quit in a mortgagee sale. Bayleys’ Corey Knapp advertised the never-lived-in, three-level units at 42-44 Byron Ave.
In yet a further example, China Construction Bank (NZ) called in loans on many units at The Victor at Browns Bay, selling 33 units out of 64 in that complex are in a distressed sale.
On the Te Atatū sale, Vincent Capital’s general manager of operations Christie Wrightson wouldn’t say how much was owed to the financier. Those questions were better directed to the receivers, Wrightson said.
The 11-block Te Atatū property is due to be sold by the deadline of December 7.
Anne Gibson has been the Herald’s property editor for 23 years, has won many awards, written books and covered property extensively here and overseas.