Received from Lee Vandervis
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 at 10:37 p.m.
█ Message: Your readers may be interested in the claim in the following Press article that the heat has gone out of the Christchurch subdivision market with several other developments in trouble as well as Noble.
### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 28/03/2015
Source: The Press
Gloomy outlook for solar housing in Christchurch
Has liquidation ended development dream?
By Liz McDonald
Is the vision of Highfield Park over? Fast-tracked by the Government and bigger than Hagley Park, the planned north Christchurch subdivision would have had 2200 solar-powered homes. The High Court this week placed its developers, Highfield Park Ltd, in liquidation over unpaid bills from engineering firm Tonkin & Taylor.
The 260-hectare subdivision site is a piece of farmland between Redwood, Mairehau and Marshlands. Its 2013 rezoning for housing was hastened under Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee’s new land-use plan but development stalled last year as the company struggled to find funds. In the meantime, the company’s options to purchase land for the development expired. Highfield Park Ltd is co-owned by the project’s founder, Christchurch engineer Roy Hamilton, his business partner, Brian Thompson, plus other investors.
Hamilton could not be contacted for comment following the court decision but he has previously confirmed the company had returned all section buyers’ deposits after missing project deadlines. Any creditors have until May 12 to contact liquidators about money owed. Highfield Park was intended to be New Zealand’s first solar-powered community and would house 5000 residents, offering ready-built homes as well as sections priced between $160,000 and $240,000. The plan included parks and two commercial areas with shops and cafes. Ground testing has revealed the land was a mix of TC1, TC2 and TC3 land, and needed some remediation. The first section titles were to have been ready by the end of last year.
An experienced Christchurch land developer, speaking on condition of anonymity, doubted anyone else would adopt the project. “The heat’s gone out of the market and it’s not a good time to start launching a major subdivision.” The developer said the Highfield project had struggled without control of the land or sufficient financial backing. He estimated up to $1 million could have been ploughed into the project already.
The development is not the only big-scale subdivision to have hit hurdles. Progress on Groynes Park near Belfast has stalled and its developers have managed to ward off liquidation bids from creditors. The company has promised work will resume soon. Ravenswood, half an hour north of Christchurch, is being offered for sale by developer Infinity Investment Group, which says the project is too big for it.
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