Wealthy businessman Donghua Liu plans to invest $100 million and build 500 homes in a property development in the heart of Auckland.

After 18 months of being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Mr Liu said he would lodge an application with Auckland Council for resource consent next month to build nine apartment blocks on his empty section in Newmarket.

The apartments are designed by architect Paul Brown, and will be constructed with
The apartments are designed by architect Paul Brown, and will be constructed with "top quality" building materials and fittings, Mr Liu says. Photo / Supplied
Drawing of Donghua Liu's property development at Newmarket. Photograph Supplied
Drawing of Donghua Liu's property development at Newmarket. Photograph Supplied
Aerial view of the location of one of nine apartment blocks which Donghua Liu plans to build in Newmarket. Photo / Supplied
Aerial view of the location of one of nine apartment blocks which Donghua Liu plans to build in Newmarket. Photo / Supplied

But other than to say he felt "totally relieved" and it was a "huge misunderstanding", Mr Liu declined to comment on the assault charges dropped last month after his partner and her mother recanted their statements to the police.

The prosecution catapulted him into the spotlight when the Herald revealed Government Minister Maurice Williamson called police to make "sure somebody had reviewed the matter to ensure we were on solid ground as Mr Liu is investing a lot of money in New Zealand".

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This led to his resignation as a Minister a few months before the election.

Mr Williamson also lobbied for the political donor to be granted New Zealand citizenship because of his potential investment and cut the ribbon at the opening of the refurbished Boulevard Hotel with the Prime Minister John Key.

Four years later, Mr Liu says the potential of the site of the former Carlton Bowling Club is about to be fulfilled.

Mr Liu in his $4.75 million home in Auckland's Remuera. In one of the pictures behind him, Mr Liu is standing side-by-side with John Key. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Mr Liu in his $4.75 million home in Auckland's Remuera. In one of the pictures behind him, Mr Liu is standing side-by-side with John Key. Photo / Brett Phibbs

"After several years of hard work, we are almost ready to lodge application for resource management consent in the middle of August," Mr Liu told the Herald. "The projects we did in China were all very successful and I will try my best in New Zealand. We want to make a place for people to live, a community."

Political connections: Donghua Liu with Prime Minister John Key and MP Jami-Lee Ross. Photo / Supplied
Political connections: Donghua Liu with Prime Minister John Key and MP Jami-Lee Ross. Photo / Supplied

Designed by Auckland architect Paul Brown, the apartments will be constructed with "top quality" building materials and fittings said Mr Liu - who is considering if the interior design could be "tailor made" to suit the owner.

In a week when Chinese buyers have been blamed for pushing house prices up, Mr Liu said the "Boulevard" project will help ease the Auckland housing shortage.

Of the 500 apartments on the 20,000 sqm site, 400 will have two bedrooms and the rest split between one and three-bedrooms.

He believed at least 50 jobs would be created, possibly as many as 100, and said his personal investment in the project would be $100 million.

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Once the design is approved by Auckland Council, Mr Liu hoped construction could start as soon as Christmas and once underway he would turn his attention to tourism.

Mr Liu says he feels relieved after being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Mr Liu says he feels relieved after being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Photo / Brett Phibbs

One potential roadblock is an investigation into the demolition of a stone wall and felling of trees on the Alpers Ave site in March which Auckland Council suspects was "unconsented".

A spokeswoman said the investigation was ongoing and more interviews needed to be conducted.

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, Liu could be prosecuted by the council for the second time.

He was convicted and fined more than $18,000 in October after admitting breaches of the Building Act and Resource Management Act following a prosecution by Auckland Council.

The charges arose from excavation work underneath two properties he owns, including his $4.75 million family home in Remuera and a $3.5 million property in Epsom.

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Donghua Liu is shrugging off a controversial 18 months to lodge resource consent with the Auckland Council next month to:

- Build 500 apartments across nine blocks on the 20,000sqm site of the former Carlton Bowling Club in Newmarket.
- Estimated cost of $100 million.
- Create 50-100 jobs