Archive | Archive – local property

Snapshot on local property to July 2000

The SNAPSHOTS series is designed to keep you abreast of events without providing much detail. This series is organised into property and more general business news, locally and internationally.

28 July 2000

Sky City closed its $150 million capital notes issue today, $50 million oversubscribed.

Calan Healthcare Properties Trust has declared a fourth-quarter gross distribution of 1.3324c/unit, with impiutation credits of 0.4397c, lower than hoped because of holding costs on projects yet to start, due diligence on an Australian venture not turning into a transaction and loss on disposal of a small asset.

Guardian Trust Funds Management wants to bring the Strand Arcade, between Queen and Elliott Sts, back to its former glory, starting with refurbishment of the lower two 1054m² office floors, vacated by Farmers Deka. The Guardian Property Fund bought the arcade in 1994. It has four office levels, the top two occupied by Waikato University, the ground-level arcade and two-restaurant basement. A suspended ceiling system hid the ornate original architectural detail, which has been revealed in architects Jessop Townsend’s refurbishment work.

Graeme Hinton’s application for resource consent for a seven-storey commercial and 22-apartment building on Florence Ave, Orewa, will be heard next Friday, 4 August. His original quest was for a 10-storey building. The hearing coincides with Rodney District Council’s release of its report on building height and density options for the Orewa town centre. The 27 submissions break up into 12 supporting intensification and taller buildings, seven opposing taller buildings, three opposing those of 10 storeys but comfort with 4-6 storeys, and five neutral. Rodney’s principal planning commissioner, Ken Graham, will formally receive the report on Thursday. More work will be done on it for inclusion in the district plan at the end of the year.

The application by the family trusts of Takapuna law firm partners Chris Western and Gary Simpson to demolish their two-storey premises on The Strand and replace it with a five-storey building containing four two-level apartments, the top two to be retained by the trusts, will be heard by independent commissioners next Thursday, 3 August. Of the 54 submissions, one was neutral and the rest opposed. The 651m² site is zoned business 3A now and commercial 3A in the transitional Takapuna district plan. It is bounded on three sides by the reserve above Takapuna Beach.

The Warehouse is selling its 5700m² New Plymouth store on a 10-year leaseback, plus six specialty shops. The complex on Devon St was built last year to replace a smaller store. Rent totals $892,000. Recent Warehouse sales include Petone for $6.9 million and Petone Warehouse Stationery for $1.9 million. St Laurence Group bought its Albany Mega Centre store last December for $10.33 million. Colliers Jardine is seeking expressions of interest for the New Plymouth complex by 31 August.

“A year ago the difference between the variable rate and the five year fixed rate was 230 basis points. Now it has narrowed to 10 points. Have interest rates peaked?” Cairns Lockie says in its fortnightly mortgage commentary (see the firm’s full commentary on External links/Loans/Cairns Lockie). It also suggests house prices could rise again through to 2002, in a cyclical move, but warns that previous house price peaks have been preceded by a period of inflation.

The Devonport Community Board wants local input to a structure plan for the 5ha of land around the Bayswater marina, owned by the Crown and North Shore City Council, including the historic and new reclamations next to the marina and northern reclamation north of the Takapuna Boating Club. The recently reclaimed land still has to be zoned. Community board chairman Paddy Stafford-Bush said options should be put to the community next March for a final plan to be put in place next May. Bayswater Marina is seeking resource consent for development of a marine village on its site.

27 July 2000

Rodney District Council is close to resolution of its drawn-out plan change 62 dispute with developers. The plan change, formally introducing a scale of financial contributions to the council for infrastructure and subdivision work, has been preceded informally by a system of “voluntary contributions” not always willingly paid and subject to one Environment Court hearing where granting of a resource consent is alleged to have depended on the contribution being made. Rodney’s principal planning commissioner, Ken Graham, said agreeement was reached between the council and developers yesterday on the methodology to be used. “We’re now drawing up a consent order to be lodged in the Environment Court,” he said. The plan change will have a national impact.

Rodney District’s commissioner, Grant Kirby, wants the council to look again at the legality of refunding rates to Whangaparaoa residents who were billed three years ago for a park-and-ride facility which is now on hold and may not be created for five years. A staff report said the best option (for the council) was to hold the $400,000 collected, earning interest until the project began, which had been done before. The Rating Powers Act did not allow the money to be used for other works and the act made no provision for a refund unless the money was incorrectly levied. Mr Kirby also said at his monthly meeting today he had delegated authority to deal with the numerous consents where the council is asked to okay minor works being carried out by neighbours, instead of having them come before him once a month.

25 July 2000

Capital Properties chairman Colin Beyer acknowledged the baying critics who opposed a 25% rise in directors’ fees to $150,000 by announcing at the start of today’s annual meeting in Wellington that the motion would be withdrawn.

24 July 2000

North Shore City councillors/hearings commissioners considering rezoning of the Albany centre expansion zone have adjourned a third time and will resume their deliberations on 15 August, when they hope to be able to form their decision.

22 July 2000

Auckland City Council’s application for a lesser Britomart earthworks resource consent was advertised today by the Auckland Regional Council. Submissions on the excavation and dewatering consent applications will close with the regional council on Friday 18 August. The city council won a hard-fought consent on 7 May 1999 from Principal Environment Judge David Sheppard to undertake 900,000m³ of earthworks for the Britomart project which, after a change of council at the end of 1998, the new council no longer wanted. Savoy Group is still working towards suing the council for cancellation of that project, which would have gone five levels unerground and had 11 above-ground development footprints. The new consent application is for 165,000m³ to be removed from a 1.8ha site.

21 July 2000

Rodney District Council’s application for resource consents relating to the proposal for a toll bridge across the Weiti River, linking the Whangaparaoa Peninsula through the Stillwater district to East Coast Rd at the Weiti Station entrance and on to the Northern Motorway extension, will be heard by the Auckland Regional Council from Thursday 17 August, continuing the following day and from Tuesday to Friday the next week.

Trans Tasman Properties has canned its Fort-Shortland St office tower for the moment and is considering other options for the site, including the possibility of a shorter building in a year or two. AMP NZ Office Trust is the immediate most likely beneficiary because law firm Simpson Grierson was talking to both parties about tenancy, but there’s no guarantee the lawyers will go down to the waterfront. Their lease (in the Albert St block of the Finance Plaza complex, owned by Trans Tasman) has been extended to 2005, giving both Simpson Grierson and Trans Tasman the flexibility AMP won’t appreciate.

Property For Industry increased total operating revenue by 6.13% to $9.1 million ($8.6 million) in the June half-year, raised its operating surplus before unusual items and tax by 5.42% to $6 million ($5.7 million) and its after-tax surplus 5.31% to $4.881 million ($4.635 million). But earnings a share fell 11.94% to 2.73c (3.1c). PFI will pay a 1.3cps interim dividend, carrying 0.3cps imputation credit, taking total dividends for the six months to 2.6cps. The company now has 41 properties worth $192 million, with an average weighted lease term of 7.7 years.

20 July 2000

The Ministry of Defence has applied to the High Court to have nearly $4 million in rates refunded after last year’s decision turning the Navy’s 11ha Tamaki base at Devonport into reserve land, but North Shore City’s deputy mayor, Dianne Hale, said today the claim was a case of sour grapes. The previous government had announced its intention to sell the land for residential development. Cllr Hale said the land was rateable because it was always deemed to have been used for “business” purposes. The council has spent $70,000 in legal fees to secure the base as a park — by comparison, Cllr Hale said the $4 million claim due to go to court on 10 August was almost as much as a year’s rates from the whole of Northcote.

North Shore and Waitakere City Council have agreed to merge their works and maintenance businesses, NSM Contracting Ltd and Eco Works Ltd, with NSM’s Albany base as home to the 50:50 joint venture. The new company, Techscape Ltd, will have shareholders’ funds of $6 million, 280 staff and be the largest water maintenance company in New Zealand.

19 July 2000

Completion of the second instalment on Capital Properties’ shares has left the Crown with just 1.18% of the business it owned in its entirety before the float in 1998. The Crown got out of what was the main portfolio of Government Property Services by offering $1 shares in two instalments, at the highly attractive returns of 22.5% annualised in the first year and 23.1% to March 2000 for small investors who stayed with it. Others had to pay 57c on the second instalment.

North Shore City councillors will resume their hearing on a variation to the Albany town centre expansion zone next Monday, 21 July, in a third session which they hope will bring a decision on the form expansion can take. The three councillors heard submissions on Variation 53 on 27 and 28 June and met again last Thursday to get a presentation on extra information they required. Submissions on Variation 61, fixing a reference to residential development in this zone to make it a non-complying instead activity instead of one permitted as of right, closed on Monday. A hearing on that aspect is not likely until late September. Related issues will come before the Environment Court on 7 August.

Residents of Papakura’s Hingaia district are heading on a similar track to those in Takanini as they examine the future of their district with potentially 10,000 residents in a greenfields urban zone, replacing the green fields of the present, dominated by small holdings with a few larger farms. Urban planning consultant Chris van Tonder, leading the charrette process, said it was taken as fact that Hingaia, on a peninsula between the Pahurehure Inlet and Drury Creek, and on the western side of the Southern Motorway, would be incorporated within Auckland’s metropolitan urban limits. The first of the four workshops was on 11 July and the last will be on 1 August.

Manson Developments has appealed to the Environment Court over North Shore City Council’s rejection of resource consent for the last block of apartments planned for the Mon Desir site fronting Takapuna Beach. The council has not set out reasons for its refusal, or the details of the legal recommendation hearing commissioners received before making their decision, and Manson director Ted Manson said letters the company had sent requesting reasons had won responses declining to comply with the company request. “I’m going to the Ombudsman to make them change their mind [on the reasons]. I need reasons [to appeal],” he said.

A part-developed Waiuku subdivision taken to mortgagee auction by Reeves Moses Hudig Mortgage Nominee Co was passed in today when bidding stopped at $800,000. Wise Lass Residential Ltd, headed by Debbie Shuttleworth, bought the 8808m² of land, down a right-of-way off Constable Rd, for $237,000 at the end of 1998 and borrowed $1.2 million in two tranches from Reeves Moses. There were three bidders for the abandoned project, which has eight finished three-bedroom townhouses, one house, and the floor slabs and services laid for six more townhouses.

Residential developers David Winstone and Chris Morton have appealed to the Environment Court after North Shore City hearing commissioners granted resource consent to their company, O’Neill Properties Ltd, for a 19-unit project overlooking Lake Pupuke at 258 Hurstmere Rd which combined terraced and townhouses, but lopped the two bottom units off the plan. “We’re probably going to have discussions with them,” Mr Morton said. Meanwhile the developers were doing the numbers on a project reduced from 19 to 17 units. “I feel there’s a solution somewhere there,” he said.

Auckland mayor Christine Fletcher gave a heart-warming account to a Hesketh Henry law firm breakfast for property industry participants today, of how the new-style approach to redeveloping the Waitemata Waterfront out of the previous Britomart project would create a better downtown environment, and how the work with other local bodies on improving public transport round the region and through Britomart would ease overall congestion. She left one questioner (and me) puzzled about how the public design competition fitted in with planning for transport needs — that you might be designing a garage without knowing what mode of transport was to go in it. But the mayor, and city planning manager John Duthie, said afterwards an agreement with Tranz Rail on transfer of urban rail corridors to Auckland local bodies for new public transport uses was due to be signed at the end of September, a week before the second stage of the design competition close, so the availability of transport routes would be known and could be tied in to designs. The whole competition is due to wrap up in November.

One member of the Hesketh Henry breakfast audience listening to Auckland mayor Christine Fletcher outline the end of Britomart and birth of Waitemata Waterfront was very careful to bite his lip during the presentation today — Savoy Equities director Kerry Haycock, who is still working on a $100 million-plus lawsuit against the council for canning the project. Savoy is the parent company of previously listed Pacific Capital, which was to have undertaken the project through Britomart subsidiaries. Mr Haycock said afterwards the suit is still being prepared. While the company works on the launch of its Hyatt Residences apartment project — where the top-flight units have been first to go — ex-Brierley Investments pr man Mike Drogemuller has been working with Savoy on the timing of the legal action and release of details.

Axis Property Group, headed by Greg Wilkinson, is the buyer of a portfolio of six properties which Trans Tasman Properties has sold for $30 million. Trans Tasman revealed few details in its Tuesday announcement. Leasing manager Bruce Catley said today he could not rank the sale prices against book value because the deal was done as a batch. Also complicating the issue was that “we have another deal on the go with them offsetting it.” The second deal was “a few months away” and he could not reveal anything about it. The three Auckland properties sold are 115 Queen St, the former Whitcoulls building at 91-95 Mt Eden Rd, the Fujitsu Centre on Khyber Pass Rd. Three retail buildings in Christchurch in the package are the Shades Atrium, Shades II and the old Weekly Press buildings in Cashel St.

Trans Tasman Properties is not out of the running to start a new office tower between Fort and Shortland Sts in the Auckland cbd, but has a tough fight to sign up the 70% financial (not space) precommitment it needs to start work while AMP is chasing the same targets. Leasing manager Bruce Catley said there were “plenty of rumours and speculation out there,” and denied one rumour that Trans Tasman was under a month’s notice from its proposed anchor tenant, law firm Simpson Grierson, to make a decision on starting. Acknowledging that AMP is also chasing Simpson Grierson, he said: “We’ve never been given any ultimatum. That’s not Simpson Grierson’s style.” With the law firm in, an arrangement on parking, signage and naming rights in place, TTP would have about 60% of the required financial commitment.

Waltus Investments’ prospectus and investment statement on the proposal to merge 19 of its early syndicates into a single entity is expected to be available at the end of next week, director Shayne Hodge said today. “We’re just waiting for registration and printing of the document.” The proposal has been taken past all the intermediaries, mainly financial planners and fund managers, over the past three months and “they will all be coming out unanimously supporting the proposed merger.”

Auckland University won approval today to proceed with the second stage of its project to convert the old brick 1YA building at the top of Shortland St for use by the School of Creative and Performing Arts. The first stage has been completed — removal of rubbish, which unfortunately included “accidental” demolition of a feature in one of the toilets. Members of Auckland City Council’s planning fixtures sub-committee were concerned about that, but were assured controls would be put in place to ensure only authorised work would be carried out in the second stage, which includes removing unwanted late additions to the exterior. The refurbishment has gone through as a non-notified resource consent, but has gone under the microscopes of council heritage planners and the Historic Places Trust. It’s listed with the trust and on the city’s category A heritage list. The university paid $2.7 million in December for the building, which was opened as a radio station in 1935 and converted to TV studios in 1960.

Sale of the 1964ha Wyangala Station, 60km south-west of Gisborne, for $2.65 million ($1349/ha) shows forestry is still demanding a place in the market, despite a quieter three years since the Asian financial crisis cut interest in logs. The station was put up for sale by a syndicate who operated it for 25 years under management as a breeding and finishing cattle and sheep farm. It’s been running just under 15,000 stock units. James MacPherson, of Bayleys’ Gisborne office, said today a New Zealand forestry group would start a forestry plantation programme on the station next year. Bayleys Research has found a distinct shortage of large pastoral blocks available in the area, and strong demand from established investment companies, private investors around New Zealand and from overseas for suitable forestry blocks.

The 4.7ha Heinz Watties plant on the Gisborne waterfront, earmarked for a hotel when the Gisborne District Council bought it two years ago, is being taken to international tender by Bayleys, closing on 17 August. A woolstore was built on the site in 1910 and J Wattie Canneries opened a canning factory there in 1952. David Hall, of Bayleys in Gisborne, says the harbour views, short walk to both the city centre and surf beach would make it attractive for a retirement village, housing development, conference centre or other tourism use.

13 July 2000

Cairns Lockie, a specialist in residential and residential investment lending, is cutting all its fixed rates from tomorrow following recent falls in fixed rates and the downward move in longer dated wholesale rates. The two-year fixed rate falls 20 points to 8.35%, three-year 25 points to 8.45% and five-year 19 points to 8.6%. The company’s floating rate is unchanged at 8.35%.

11 July 2000

AMP Property Fund has sold 2.4% of the listed AMP NZ Office Trust this year, cutting its interest from 30.23% to 27.83%.

Control of New Zealand-listed McConnell Dowell Corporation is changing hands again. Formed by Auckland engineers Jim Dowell and the late Buck McConnell, MacDow was a significant New Zealand company in the 80s and still has a role here. It was held by American interests for most of the 90s. South African conglomerate Anglo American bought the 63.8% controlling interest last year through a construction subsidiary, LTA. Anglo announced in Johannesburg yesterday that it had agreed to sell its 68% of LTA to another listed South African construction company, Aveng.

6 July 2000

Brent Clode has gained resource consent for his Terraces on Main project on the Onehunga Mall, which will contain 95 apartments and about 2200m² of retail. The proposal went before Auckland City planning commissioners on Monday.

4 July 2000

Taradale Properties has sold 18 of the 80 townhouses and villas it plans to build at Marama Point, on the 4ha site of the caravan park beside the Ohau Channel, which runs between Lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti. Ernst & Young has done investment calculations for the project, including one showing a 14.1% return on investment in a three-bedroom unit, based on a $260,000 unit, 10% deposit, 9% mortgage interest rate, 42% occupancy and tariff of $145/night.

WestpacTrust will take 33 of its branches to auction in the first week of August. Two are in Auckland — the branches at Great South Rd, Penrose, and Karangahape Rd — but if the experience of previous bank branch auctions is an indication, it will be the small country offices that attract most attention. Michael Judd of Colliers Jardine, who took the BNZ’s portfolio of country branches to a series of auctions, is also handling this one. The auctions will be held at the Centra Hotel in Auckland on Tuesday 2 August, and the Parkroyals in Wellington and Christchurch on the next two days.

29 June 2000

Awards for round one of Auckland City Council’s Waitemata waterfront development design competition (the successor to the Britomart project) will be made at the old CPO on QEII Square at 6pm today. The 153 entries are on display in the former post office’s main chamber.

27 June 2000

Armstrong Jones issued substantial security holder notices today, saying it has 10.11% of Property For Industry and 7.74% of Kiwi Income Property Trust.

North Shore commissioners will complete their hearing tomorrow on district plan proposed variation 53, concerning the Albany centre expansion zone. Landowner Neil Developments wants changes to enable it more flexibility for developing and tenanting its 27ha, Westfield/St Lukes Group want to stop the opportunity for a retail zone competing equally with their proposed town centre, and the Minister for the Environment says the variation conflicts with the regional growth strategy, which the city’s mayor signed up to support last December.

Auckland City’s councillors have taken some of the recent criticism over resource consent procedures to heart. The council has now put a statement on its own website (External links/Local government/Auckland City Council) to explain the rules on urban design, central area planning procedures and applying for a resource consent.

Cornerstone Group’s proposal for a 40-unit comprehensively designed multiple household development at 282 Hibiscus Coast Highway, the old main road through Orewa, has been put to public submissions by the Rodney District Council. Submissions will close on 24 July.

Richina Pacific has announced the letting of two floors (2000m²) of Mobil on the Park in Wellington to Lucent Technologies, and the option for Lucent to take a third floor. Lucent’s lease is for three years with two three-yeqar rights of renewal. Richina chief executive said this lease and option, plus completion of negotiations on the fourth floor, would make the building fully leased. He said the Lucent lease was at “market rate for superior space.”

24 June 2000

Property For Industry has bought a $7.13 million Mt Wellington property on a 15-year leaseback to Brambles subsidiary Recall Total Information Management, taking to 12 sale-and-leaseback transactions PFI has completed, worth $50 million. General manager Peter Alexander said this deal gave a 9.05% initial yield, with Recall’s rent rising in agreed steps every three years. The PFI portfolio now totals 41 properties valued at $192 million. The average weighted lease term has been raised from 7.5 to 7.7 years.

21 June 2000

Consents for new housing picked up in May to 2055 consents for the month (2377 last year and 1637 the year before), after a big dip in April to 1405, according to Statistics NZ. The consent level ran above 2000 for 10 consecutive months last year, peaking at 2633 in September.

Colliers Jardine’s director of international sales, John Goddard, was named the Real Estate Institute of NZ’s commercial and industrial salesperson of the year on Monday. Mr Goddard also won this title in 1997 and has been Colliers Jardine’s top revenue broker since 1995.

19 June 2000

The Environment Court has ruled in favour of North Shore City Council and against Richard Kroon’s Anzani Investments over plans for a 15m-high building overlooking the beach reserve in Browns Bay. Mr Kroon claimed his plans were within as-of-right limits. The court has ruled it should be dealt with as discretionary or non-complying activity, and that is should also comply with Variation 20, reducing the height limit to 9m.

Property law specialists Knight Coldicutt moved from Newmarket Broadway to Princes Wharf today. The firm has taken ground-floor space in Shed 20. The next shed along, Shed 21, containing the Hilton Hotel and developer David Henderson’s private pad at the top, was topped off last week by Hartner Construction.

Across the back of the new Botany town centre and Sacramento medium-density residential development, the mayor of Manukau, Sir Barry Curtis, planted an oak tree on Friday to launch the 500-unit Dannemora retirement village, which will offer both licence-to-occupy and unit-title residency.

16 June 2000

Auckland City Council’s planning & regulatory committee stopped short of a total ban on pavement sandwich boards at its meeting today, preferring to go for further consultation and look at the issue again in August. At that time, a ban is likely. The committee also wants to tidy up Auckland’s billboards, but again opted for further consultation and an August report back.

9 June 2000

Bankrupt propert developer Graeme Raymond will face a one-day depositions hearing in the Auckland Court on 18 August, on five charges laid by the Ministry of Commerce (now the Ministry of Economic Development). Raymond, 37, has been charged with perjury, making a false statement, contributing to his insolvency by gambling and extravagant living, concealing property and making misleading statements to the Official Assignee.

7 June 2000

Trans Tasman Properties has done a trade to get 2.2ha of Western Viaduct development land, two tracts between Halsey and Beaumont Sts with frontages to Fanshawe and Gaunt Sts. On the other side of the ledger, Jamie Peters’ Starline Group gets the Deka building in Hamilton and Eagle Technology House on Willis St, Wellington.

2 June 2000

Colonial First State Property Trust earned $8.55 million in the 10 months to March after writing down the portfolio by 1.73%, and is paying unitholders an annualised 10.45%, compared to the prospectus forecast of 10.3%.

1 June 2000

Taradale Properties has appointed Craig Stevenson as its general manager, after six years as company accountant. Mr Stevenson was previously at KMG Kendons and the Chelsea sugar refinery. Taradale is headed by Tim Manning, who established it 12 years ago. It is developing the 220-unit Sacramento condominium project at Botany Downs and launched an 80-lodge project at Lake Rotoiti a few weeks ago.

AMP has sold the six-storey Opus Building, on the corner of Harwood and Princes Sts in central Hamilton, for $2.28 million as part of a rationalisation of its smaller property holdings. With one level vacant, current annual net rent of $260,584 puts the sale on an 11.4% yield. The property was sold at a Bayleys auction today. Other sales included an 8000m² industrial site in Ohaupo Rd, Te Awamutu, with showroom and office building plus storage shed, sold with vacant possession for $300,000, and a Higgins Rd industrial property in Hamilton, leased to scaffolding company Acrow until 2003, sold for $196,000 on an 11.7% yield.

31 May 2000

Westfield Trust has proposed a full takeover of shopping centre owner St Lukes Group at $1.70 for both the shares and notes. Westfield Trust owns 46.4% already and a Westfield Holdings subsidiary manages St Lukes. A shareholder meeting will be held in July to consider the offer.

Savoy Equities said today it should have produced a report for the transitional period to 31 December 1999 after changing its balance date from August, but had delayed this because it considering redemption of the redeemable shares. An audit certificate would not be issued until that was resolved.

Justice Chambers ended a three-day High Court session on Auckland Regional Council appeals over two rural subdivision applications, one a coastal proposal for 14 lots above the south end of Pakiri Beach and the other for five lots at Kumeu, with three reserved decisions. Two of those decisions were on the appeals and the third was on an application for judicial review of the Environment Court’s consent to the Pakiri proposal.

The Ngati Whatua o Orakei Maori Trust Board’s application to build an 80-unit retirement village at Te Arawa St, Orakei, will go before three commissioners. The chairman of Auckland City Council’s planning fixtures sub-committee, Juliet Yates, excluded herself from the task because she was a member of the reserves board. The Maori trust board wants to build 60 units in six apartment buildings and 20 townhouses in three blocks, 28 of them with one bedroom, the rest with two, and four with a study, on a 40ha site above the Orakei marae. The board filed its application last September and has 82 submissions against it, 42 in support.

Fletcher and Brierley’s Lake Park project in the 105ha Winstone quarry at Mt Wellington has run into a fresh obstacle — a 1998 subdivision consent the companies’ joint venture could not show existed, and which Auckland City Council could not find documentation for. The application is now on its way through the notified hearings procedure. The developers also have a private plan change application in the public forum, with cross-submissions closing on 28 June.

Aquita Developments Ltd, owned by earthmoving business operator Allan Blackmore, wants to establish a clean fill operation with a 250,000m³ capacity in a disused quarry on Blackbridge Rd, Dairy Flat. Rodney District Council is taking submissions until 30 June.

Trans Tasman Properties wants to turn itself into a more robust, active trader than the passive, struggling beast it has become. Shareholders were told in the annual report and against at this week’s annual meeting to expect both Trans Tasman and Australian Growth Properties to look outside the cbd, to trade and to develop where capital value can be added. Its Sydney development, 363 George St, is more than 70% leased, it wants that level of commitment befor

Continue Reading

Snapshot on local property, week to 29 July 2001

Latest: Burmester cuts Southern Capital stake, Manapouri tailrace settlement, Linz to go to Oracle Tower, Restaurant Brands profit dips, Britomart carpark demolition starts, Dairy Brands sellout near completion.

27 July 2001

Christchurch businessman Phillip Burmester has sold his shareholding in Southern Capital Ltd down from 9.3% to 3.5%. It’s held by Milton Bay Holdings Ltd.

Fletcher Building Ltd and its Manapouri tailrace consortium partners, Dillingham Construction International of the US and STRABAG AG of Austria, have settled their two-year dispute with Meridian Energy over the cause of and liability for a long delay in completing the 10km tunnel, which had to go through much harder rock than anticipated. The project should be completed next April. Settlement details weren’t disclosed.

24 July 2001

Land Information NZ (Linz) will move into 4406m² of Oracle Tower in Wakefield St early next year, taking up three office floors and the large ground-floor space previously occupied by the Sunworld restaurant. Linz is now in the Federal St side of the Price Waterhouse Centre, where it has an exclusive entrance. The shift will take the organisation from Amtrust Pacific to Capital Properties NZ Ltd, which said the tenancy would cut its vacancy from 3.9% in March to 1.8%, and will make Oracle Tower fully leased. Linz will take two floors for nine years, the other space for a shorter term. The other vacant floor in the tower was leased to Mike Henry Insurance for 6½ years.

Restaurant Brands NZ Ltd made $6 million in the half-year to 18 June, down 18.9%, on sales up 12.6% to $135.6 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) up 12.8% to $24.3 million. The company said the profit fell because it incurred the full costs of its Pizza Hut expansion, but the benefits would take 12 months to flow through. Pizza Hut outlets increased by 39 to 82, sales by 64%, ebitda was up $73% to $4 million and ebitda margin was 11.3%, up 4.4 points on the second half of 2000. KFC ebitda margin was steady 21%. Starbucks Coffee added three stores for a total 20, raised sales 55% and raised ebitda margin from 6.9% (second half 2000) to 10.5%. Starbucks will open another 8-10 stores in the second half. The company expects total ebitda, operating cashflow and net profit after tax in the second half to be ahead of the second half of 2000, but that full-year net profit after tax (excluding abnormals) will be down on 2000.

The Britomart carpark and rest of the bus terminal will be demolished over the next two months to make way for the Queen St station project. Ward Demolition has the $400,000 contract.

Dairy Brands NZ Ltd has entered into conditional sale contracts for six of its remaining seven farms and expects a contract on the final one next week as part of the same arrangement. Purchase price for all seven is $28.750 million plus stock and plant at valuation with an expected settlement of 31 August and $5 million left in as a second mortgage. One of the farms is owned 18% by another party, who is also selling.

Continue Reading

Snapshot on local property, week to 23 February 2003

21 February 2003

Auckland Regional Council will discuss its future accommodation options in the closed section of its monthly meeting on Monday 24 February. The council is a tenant of Vodafone House on Pitt St, which was design-built for the council’s predecessor, the regional authority, on the tail of the 80s boom.

Continue Reading

Snapshot on local property, week to 14 September 2003

14 September 2003

ING Property Trust (name changed from Paramount Property Trust on 1 September) will pay a 2.51c/unit distribution on 19 September, but it will no longer have imputation credits. At least, I think that’s what the 5.15pm Friday release to the Stock Exchange meant. Hardly a good way to start management of a listed trust, sending out an incomprehensible message to the exchange.

Trans Tasman Properties Ltd’s majority shareholder, SEA Holdings Ltd of Hong Kong, said it would vote in favour of Trans Tasman’s full takeover offer for Australian Growth Properties Ltd. Trans Tasman said it would hold a special meeting in mid-October on the takeover offer. SEA holds 55.16% of Trans Tasman, and Trans Tasman holds 50.2% of Australian Growth Properties.

Continue Reading

Snapshot on local property, week to 10 December 2000

Latest: Tasman Ag continues selling, Orewa tower OK, contribution deferred.

The Snapshots series have entered their third phase. It was obvious after a short period that, with too many items, they needed to be broken into monthly groups, at most. I’ve just counted the World Property items for November and found 51. So the next change is into weekly groups, along with the creation of an overall site Snapshot every week. Let me know if you think it’s good/bad.

6 December 2000

Tasman Agriculture has unconditional contracts totalling $106 million for the sale of 28 farms, most settling next June, two in June 2002. The listed company, 66% owned by Brierley Investments, has sold a total 6400ha at an average $16,577/ha, 20% above the May 2000 book values. On the 6.58kg of milk solids produced in the season to May 2000, the sale prices represent an average of $16.12/kg milk solids. The latest sale, $2.7 million for 180ha at Lauriston, Mid-Canterbury, represented $16.57/kg milk solids. Tasman Ag has another three properties conditionally sold for $8 million and has several more on the market.

1 December 2000

Rodney District Council’s principal planning commissioner, Ken Graham, is satisfied with changes made to Graeme Hinton’s proposed seven-level commercial and apartment building on Florence Ave, Orewa, which was originally turned down in August. But two other appellants, an elderly neighbour and the National Trading Co, remain opposed.

The developer of a retail and office property at Manly on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula will not have to pay a financial contribution to the Rodney District Council for a parking shortfall until the council has a firm parking scheme to develop — a twist to the contributions argument which follows independent commissioners’ questions of how council staff could justify payments when nothing seemed to have been proposed to relieve supposed problems.

Continue Reading

Snapshot on local property, week to 11 November 2001

10 November 2001

National Property Trust has declared a first-quarter distribution for the three months to 31 August of 2c/unit plus 0.25c/unit imputation credits, in line with the proposed gross minimum 9c/unit this year and next, agreed at the 2 November extraordinary general meeting. The meeting agreed to the proposed redevelopment of the Eastgate shopping centre in Christchurch and issuing of $25 million of capital notes, paying 9.5% with an initial three-year term to 30 November 2004 and final maturity in nine years. The issue, underwritten by ABN AMRO Craigs Ltd, will open on Monday 19 November.

Kiwi Income Property Trust has increased profit for the September half by 30.1% to $21.2 million, on revenue up 40.3% to $36.2 million. The operating surplus before unusuals (none) & tax rose 20.7% to $23.9 million. Earnings/unit fell from 4.84c to 4.77c. Gross interim dividend has increased from 4.655c/unit to 5.46c/unit with no imputation credits, compared to 4.655c/unit & 0.545c imputation a year ago. Class B units, which didn’t participate in any distributions up to 30 September 2001, will convert to ordinary units on 3 December (first business day after the 30 November record date). Unitholders’ equity rose from $407 million to $518 million. The trust had total assets of $877 million & investors’ funds of $582 million at 30 September, and reduced its debt:asset ratio from 29.1% at 31 March to 28.6%. Net income from the retail portfolio rose 17%, primarily from expansion & redevelopment of Centre Place, Hamilton, where specialty sales rose 11%. Addition of the Royal SunAlliance Centre to the portfolio increased commercial income 66% to $20.4 million. The Royal SunAlliance Centre was 94.4% leased at 30 September, with just 2117m² vacant. Vacancy over the whole commercial portfolio fell from 5.2% in March to 3.7%. Wellington vacancy is 3.8%, including two floors in the Majestic Centre.

Foodland Associated Ltd said first-quarter sales form continuing operations rose 16%, with Progressive Enterprises’ New Zealand supermarket division up 12.5%. Progressive’s sales rose 9.5% on a same-store basis. Farmers improved 3%. Fourteen former Deka stores were rebranded as Farmers, and 10 of these will be accounted for as extensions because of their proximity to existing Farmers stores. On a comparable-store basis, New Zealand sales fell 1.9%, partly because winter clearance activity started earlier last year and because of a decline in big-ticket sales after 11 September this year.

8 November 2001

First-quarter sales at The Warehouse (the three months to 31 October) rose 9%, or $31.9 million, to $385.1 million on a year ago. Group sales fell after the 11 September US terrorist attacks then reverted to normal patterns. Sales at the Warehouse rose 8.5% to $255 million, same-store sales rose 1.9%. Total Warehouse (red barn only) retail space rose 9.4% to 309,920m². Weighted average sales/m² fell from $4025/m² to $3912/m². Warehouse Stationery sales rose 41.1%, or $7.9 million, to $27.1 million, and that chain opened no new stores during the quarter. Same-store sales rose 25.4%. Warehouse Australia sales rose 12.1%, but same-store sales fell 4.4%. Weighted average sales in Australia for the year were $A2261/m².

Continue Reading

Snapshot on local property, week to 6 July 2003

5 July 2003

Kaipara District Council is seeking expressions of interest for provision of resource consent processing services, closing on Friday 1 August.

2 July 2003

The National Property Trust has sold NZI House in Hereford St, Christchurch, for $8.4 million, settlement 1 August. The sale price is above current book value. National will use the money to repay debt.

Village Sky City Cinemas, the joint venture between Village Roadshow of Australia and Sky City Leisure Ltd’s Sky City Cinemas, expects to go ahead with a new cinema complex at the proposed new Fraser Cove shopping centre in Tauranga, assuming a satisfactory lease agreement & acceptable commercial terms.

Richina Pacific Ltd chairman Alastair MacCormick said completion of the sale of Mobil-on-the-Park in Wellington for $66 million would release $25 million, part of which would be used on expansion of the company’s Shanghai leather business.

Kensington Swan senior associate Patrick Mulligan, who represented Ken Campbell of Glen Afton as an interested party opposing the Waikato Regional Council’s view on search & entry rights in a High Court appeal before Justice Venning, said the judge’s decision (handed down on 25 June) would have a significant effect on the way councils conduct investigations into offending against the Resource Management Act. “In the past council officers have generally used their general powers to enter property to enter to gather evidence of offending under the act. Only on extremely rare occasions have councils sought a search warrant. Councils will now have to re-evaluate their protocols for entering a site to ensure that they are not entering private property illegally. If they do not then it is possible that any evidence collected by councils could be found to be inadmissible in a prosecution action. The High Court’s decision represents a significant affirmation of the sanctity of private property rights and particularly the right to be properly protected against unauthorised searches by council officers,” Mr Mulligan said. Justice Venning found officers could enter a property to check for compliance, but if they thought an offence punishable by imprisonment had been committed, they would need a search warrant.

Pacific Brands Ltd, manufacturer & marketer of Jockey, Berlei, Canterbury & Holeproof brands of clothing, will consolidate all New Zealand distribution in a 6000m² warehouse in East Tamaki. It should open early next year. Leases on its existing Auckland & Christchurch warehouses are about to expire. It has a 3rd warehouse in Palmerston North. The new distribution centre will carry about 18,000 SKUs (the average supermarket stocks about 30,000) and will have a staff of about 35. Pacific Brands is owned by an investment consortium headed by CVC Asia Pacific and Catalyst Investment Managers, who bought the businesses from Pacific Dunlop in November 2001. It will keep its NZ headquarters in Christchurch after signing a 3-year lease renewal.

30 June 2003

Founding investors in the Paramount Property Trust, Pacific Capital Investments Ltd and Symphony Investments Ltd, have reduced their stakes after a $4.2 million placement in June to finance the $7.9 million purchase of the Liggins Institute building in Grafton. Pacific Capital’s beneficial interest falls from 19% to 16.2% (after the placement & onmarket sales), and Symphony’s from 16.3% to 14.4%.

Continue Reading

Snapshot on local property, week to 14 July 2002

9 July 2002

Commonwealth Bank of Australia & subsidiaries have sold 4.4% of Colonial First State Property Trust for $84.2 million over the past 4 months, cutting their combined holdings to 58.08%.

Westfield NZ Ltd has completed the first stage (12 new stores, including a new McDonalds) of its $55 million 8500m² extension & upgrade of the St Lukes centre. Westfield director John Widdup said the centre would boast a very sophisticated choice of high-end fashion stores by Christmas, and by completion in mid-2003 will have an 8-screen multiplex, more than 150 fashion & lifestyle stores, a Farmer’s department store, Kmart and Foodtown supermarket.

The Property Council released its new premises conditions report last week — a tool to get agreement between landlords & tenants on the actual physical condition of premises before they enter a lease. It contains a comprehensive checklist, and attaching photos is encouraged. There’s a column to record who’s responsible for reinstating every item.

Continue Reading