Walter Peak. Picture from the ODT files
It might be third time lucky for a multimillion-dollar
luxury development at Walter Peak, across Lake Wakatipu from
Today, a portion of the 38ha Walter Peak Estate site is
advertised for mortgagee sale auction, to be held in
Queenstown on September 5.
Most of the site - which has consent approval for $50 million
lodge and subdivision development - has already been
re-acquired by the owners of the adjacent Walter Peak
Through two Overseas Investment Office decisions released
yesterday, the station owners have signalled their intention
to acquire the remaining chunks of land and progress the
development by completing an indigenous planting requirement.
The decision summaries seen by the ODT were silent on the
owners' intentions once the planting was complete.
Alexandra-based lawyer John Williamson, of Checketts McKay,
who represents the station owners, said work on the
large-scale planting project was started last year. It should
be completed this year and take about three years to
establish. He declined to comment on the owners' future plan
for the land.
In a decision released by the OIO yesterday, Walter Peak
Station co-owners Israelis Shmuel Meitar, and Morris, David
and Benjamin Kahn, and United States couple Ian and Tonya
Koblick have been granted retrospective consents to buy
mortgage interests over 34.9ha of Walter Peak Estate land for
an undisclosed sum.
At the same time, David and Morris Kahn and Mr Meitar were
given OIO sign-off to become the beneficial owners of a
freehold interest in the same land.
The vendor in both cases was Aviation Properties NZ,
associated with now bankrupt property developer Rod Nielsen.
The genesis of the proposed $50 million development stretches
back to 1999 - and was the brainchild of American investor
and ocean explorer Mr Koblick.
But he baled out of the project and, in 2006, Mr Nielsen
bought the plot - carved off the adjacent 27,000ha Walter
Peak Station - for $10 million.
The Environment Court granted approval for the development
and basic infrastructure was built.
But development company Walter Peak Developments - associated
with Mr Nielsen and business partner Justin Russell - hit
financial trouble and was placed in receivership in 2008,
owing Strategic Finance $20.6 million.
It is thought South African tennis star Wayne Ferreira bought
a section for $2.5 million before the development collapsed.
-by David Williams