Savoy close to filing case against council
Savoy Group has not dropped its $100 million-plus court case against the Auckland City Council over failure of the Britomart redevelopment project, although it is behind schedule in filing its claim with the High Court.
Kerry Haycock, managing director of the group’s New Zealand listed company, Savoy Equities, said this week the statement of claim was in its final draft and should be filed “in a week or two. All the work is pretty well complete.”
Meanwhile, Mr Haycock hopes to see a resource consent in the same timeframe for the group’s Hyatt apartments project, which would enable a start on that in the second half of June.
Savoy has been working on its claim against the council for several months. It alleges breach of contract, damages for costs, loss of potential earnings and conspiracy among councillors “to achieve a certain outcome. That outcome injured us,” Mr Haycock said.
Pacific Capital Assets, under the control of Savoy director Jihong Lu, listed in 1997 with the Britomart redevelopment scheme as its first infrastructure venture. The second call on Pacific Capital’s shares would have fallen due in a few weeks, but the consent process dragged on and, with an anti-Britomart majority elected to the council in late 1998, the project was ended last year.
The $125 million of underground transport centre and parking floors would be close to completion if work had started as envisaged in 1997. Instead, the city council has a design competition under way for a new version of the project.
Savoy’s main gains from Britomart would have come from above-ground construction on the 11 development footprints.
Hyatt project progressing
Without that project, Mr Lu has concentrated his energies overseas, with ventures in the Philippines and Hong Kong, but success with the Hyatt project would give the group some credibility locally.
Savoy and Australian associate Hudson Group entered a joint venture last year to buy the Hyatt for about $40 million, getting a 273-room hotel on 5800sqm, 5200sqm of development land, the four-storey Princes Court office building and, at the foot of the site on Eden Cres, the nine-unit Eden Hall flats, which have an historic classification.
Savoy proposes to slot a 20-storey serviced apartment tower between the hotel and Princes Court, on Princes St but with views north-west and north-east towards the Waitakeres and Coromandel. The 108-unit Hyatt Residences design shows 87 serviced apartments on 11 floors, 12 sub-penthouses on two floors and nine two-level penthouses.
Prices (all excluding gst, which depends on whether they are owner-occupied or part of the serviced pool) are expected to range from $162,500 for a 40mÂ² studio on level 3 to $565,000 for a 110mÂ² two-bedroom sub-penthouse.
The penthouses have been priced from $520,000 to $820,000. Investors will be offered an 8.5 % return for three years. Ex-gst prices range from $3500 to $5000/mÂ², which makes the project competitive in the five-star market.