A Russian energy and finance tycoon is selling 20 luxury Auckland apartments in one of New Zealand's most sought after and tallest residential building.
Nikita Volkov, who is now a naturalised New Zealand citizen, spoke exclusively to the Herald on Sunday about the sale of his Metropolis Hotel properties, which he began collecting in 2008.
The oil and natural gas entrepreneur is selling the apartments to "realise [his] life-long dream of establishing a banking organisation in Europe".
"This is the only reason I am selling this portfolio of apartments," he said.
The total quotable valuation for the apartments as of 2014 is $6,905,000, according to the Auckland Council website.
However, licensed real estate agent Dale Matravers, of Prestige Realty, stressed the figure was not a market value for the apartments, which are between the 10th and 27th floors.
Volkov, who was born in the former USSR in the early 1970s, made his fortune as a young entrepreneur in Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Since then he has built a wide investment portfolio in several business sectors including oil and petroleum, energy, finance, trading, investment banking, agriculture, art, real estate, and property development.
Volkov told the Herald on Sunday he currently owns or has significant shares in several international companies.
The 46-year-old is the sole owner of oil and gas company Esproenko International and has an 80 per cent stake of its subsidiary Esproenko Export S.L in Spain, and all its subsidiaries.
He also owns 50 per cent of the credit organisation Private Cash Center, and about 7 per cent of Russian energy investment company Sakhalin-Energo.
The first company he founded, and still owns 50 per cent of, is private joint stock venture Vostochnaya Fondovaya Kompaniya.
"Sadly, [in the] late 90s and early 2000s, Russia was not a great place to raise my three children," he said of his arrival in New Zealand.
"My wife and I had the opportunity to choose any place in the world as our family's new home, and we chose New Zealand after comparing it in every way to other options and realising it would be the best place for us to live."
He said he obtained permanent residency in New Zealand under the investors category in 2002, and is now a New Zealand citizen.
Immigration New Zealand's investor migration visas are for experienced business people wishing to gain residency in New Zealand.
After moving to New Zealand, Volkov said he "started carefully researching reliable risk-free business opportunities".
"Having experience in property development of residential high-rises, and knowing the value of real estate investment, the Metropolis complex in downtown Auckland particularly appealed to me.
"I concluded that buying of apartments in Metropolis and renting them out would give me the best possible value for money invested, compared to any other residential complexes in New Zealand."
Since 2008 he has been "carefully hand-picking" apartments in the 40-storey inner-city tower.
Matravers, one of the two agents selling the properties, told the Herald on Sunday the apartments currently return more than $600,000 to Volkov annually.
The portfolio has a total floor space of more than 1000sq/m and includes 4 garage carparks and 4 storage units. However, potential buyers will receive floor plans during the due diligence period, Matravers said.
He added the luxurious apartments are of different sizes and styles, including "larger more extravagant suites", while the 69 to 78sq/m two bedroom suites offer "splendid and expansive accommodation, fit for executives and small families".
The portfolio consists of 6 two-bedroom apartments (2 of which have 2 bathrooms), and 14 one-bedroom apartments (35 to 67sq/m).
The largest apartment being sold is on the 18th floor and is 78sq/m, with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a carpark and storage. The second largest is on the 14th floor, measuring 77sq/m and includes 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
However, Matravers said some of the apartments are adjoining and potentially allow for more space.
He said the properties were an "attractive investment opportunity for local or international corporations, investment funds, or high net worth individuals".
While advertisement for the apartments was only published online yesterday, interest and response has already come from New Zealand, Asia and the Americas, Matravers said.
The tender for the sale of the properties closes at 5pm on May 5.
Metropolis, a $180 million tower on Courthouse Lane with a swimming pool and gym, has 37 habitable floors and was completed in 1999 by Krukziener Properties, owned by multimillionaire developer Andrew Krukziener.