The developer of one of New Zealand's largest apartment projects wants to keep buyers' money, even though it has exceeded original timeframes for the project, once scheduled to be occupied three years ago.
The 246-unit Alexandra Park apartment project Auckland's in the Epsom/Greenlane area is late by at least three years and developer, the Auckland Trotting Club, is now pleading with buyers to give it till next year to finish it.
Stage one of the project was planned to build 246 "high-end apartments" and gross sales had reached nearly $300m early last year. Back in 2016 the apartments were advertised at between $585,000 and $2 million.
"Support us and grant the extension to the sunset date of December 2020," the club is now asking off-the-plan buyers, some forced to rent having sold family homes to move into the units, on the basis of marketing material some years ago.
Buyers of units in Building A being built by CMP and Building B being built by Ganelon are allowed to escape their contracts which expired in December.
But the club wants to keep the money so it can finish the project next year.
"If the sunset date under your agreement for sale and purchase passed in December 2018, you should be aware that our solicitors have written to yours requesting an extension of that date through to December 2020 preserving headroom over and above the anticipated completion date," a buyers' update out last month said.
Some buyers might want to cancel the contract due to lateness, it acknowledged.
"If you choose this course, Auckland Trotting Club will immediately refund your deposit along with any interest accrued since payment in accordance with your sale and purchase agreement. If you do not wish to cancel your agreement, then the Auckland Trotting Club requests that you support us and grant the extension to the sunset date of December 2020," the update said.
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Dominique Dowding, club chief executive, has also resigned for what the business said today were "personal reasons." The board has appointed Rod Croon executive director while it hunts for a permanent replacement, it said.
In 2016, Dowding won a Property Council women in property award for managing the transformation of the raceway's carpark into the new apartment hub.
In December 2014, the Herald reported her predicting occupation of the Green Lane West Rd places by the end of 2016.
Keeping depositors' cash beyond the refund date is not the only trouble the project has struck. Last April, Auckland Council demanded urgent action and issued a "stop work" notice which remained in place for three months.
Dowding said last year that was for "observation, quality assurance and documentation issues with erection of structural steel by the contractors on both buildings A and B".
"The notices were provided to both Auckland Trotting Club and the contractors Ganellen and Canam."
In the latest update, the club said it knew some buyers would be "terribly disappointed" about the new completion date for building A, referring to "performance issues" with previous building Canam, replaced last year by CMP Construction.
"Unfortunately, when you make tough decisions there are invariably delays especially in this market where resources are scarce and prices have skyrocketed since we initially had the job tendered," the buyer update said.
The club also outlined how much work appointing a new contractor had caused.
CMP did an audit and analysis of the partly-built structures it took over, looking for defects or remedials, the club said. The works included:
• Surveying the entire building;
• Scanning and X-raying the entire building;
• Going through all the drawings and ensuring that everything was ready for them to hit the ground running;
• Cleaning up the site and ensuring that everything was clean and tidy so that work faces could be opened with three different teams attacking the A1, A2 and townhouse structures.
The club said the building had started to take shape "and a tremendous amount of work has occurred on the A1 and A2 towers, with steel almost at level eight. Welding has started and our subtrades will start to lay the floors and pour concrete over the coming weeks. The mock-up apartment is already in train so that we can ensure the quality of the product throughout the fit-out period is maintained".
CMP had negotiated with their subtrades and was 48 per cent through these negotiations before Christmas.
"Having negotiated the most important part of the trades, they then confirmed their programme to the ATC project control group and to the board in January. The estimated completion date under the revised programme is now April 30, 2020 however we anticipate a settlement period up to the May 30, 2020," the club said.