The developer behind one of New Zealand's biggest apartment jobs The International has put the company into voluntary administration, saying not all creditors will be paid.
Gary Groves engaged Dominion Constructors to convert the ex-Fonterra headquarters at 9 Princes St in Auckland's CBD into luxury apartments in a $250 million job and Donald Trump ex-aide Chris Liddell was said to have bought an apartment there for around $15m.
But Groves' Sanctuary Developments No 8 is now in the hands of Jeff Meltzer and Mike Lamacraft of liquidation and receiver specialists Meltzer Mason, according to a statement issued this afternoon.
All the apartments have been completed and 90 per cent of them sold but construction delays spelt trouble with the project.
"As with many construction projects such as Commercial Bay and the Park Hyatt Hotel, unforeseen construction disruptions and Covid-19-related delays have been overcome, however, these delays have added significant costs," a statement said.
"It has become clear that there will be a shortfall to pay off secured and unsecured creditors.
"To that end, the director of Sanctuary Developments No 8 has voluntarily appointed administrators to work with them to best enable financial obligations to be met. The directors have taken the responsible decision to enter into Voluntary Administration as it is a fair and transparent platform," the statement said.
Groves of St Mary's Bay is the company's sole director. Its sole shareholder is Sanctuary Developments 2015 whose address is given as accountants Gilligan Shepherd.
"The bank, all construction and sub-contractor parties, and over 90 per cent of unsecured creditors have been paid in full. Sanctuary has no outstanding financial obligation or dispute with the builder Dominion Constructors and will focus on outstanding invoices from December 2020 onwards," the statement said.
All construction guarantees are in place and will be honoured by Dominion Constructors, it said.
"The administration has no impact on the apartment owners' clear title, use of the apartments or shared facilities. It is anticipated that the 10 remaining unsold apartments will be sold within the next month," the statement said.
In 2017, the Herald reported on how Trump's adviser had spent millions on the penthouse at The International although Liddell never confirmed that.
Sports stars, film-makers, business leaders, lawyers, young professionals and empty nesters bought units, Groves told the Herald two years ago.
Places sold for up to $15.3m in the 90-unit project, its developer says.
Apartments in the 17-level residential block had been sold to some of New Zealand's highest-profile people, he said.
"High-profile sportspeople, captains of industry, movie makers, business people, those with kids at university... it's quite a cross-section. Young professionals bought smaller units. There's a lot of empty nesters. The target market was people who didn't know they wanted to buy an apartment until we took them to the showroom," Groves said, inviting the Herald to look at the first finished apartment then.
Groves never said whether Liddell had bought.
Some places were going for $2.7m to $3.1m, depending on which floor they were on.