Dunedin auctioneer Warwick Grimmer sells a Walter Peak
Station mortgagee property at Queenstown's Sofitel Hotel
yesterday. Photo by David Williams.
Walter Peak Station is back in common ownership for the
first time in eight years - but do not expect sections to go on
At a mortgagee auction in Queenstown yesterday, a
representative for the station's foreign owners bought two
residential sections for $3.89 million.
It was a piece of real estate theatre - the vendor and buyer
were the same company, Walter Peak Station Corporate Trustee
No other bidder was present in the 29 seats laid out in the
third-floor boardroom of Queenstown's luxury Sofitel Hotel.
Each time auctioneer Warwick Grimmer, of Dunedin, asked for
an opening bid, Alexandra lawyer John Williamson, a WPSCT
director, put up his hand and said: ''One million, nine
hundred and forty-five thousand dollars.''
The sections were 1470sq m and 1161sq m, each with a share of
34.6289ha of commonly owned land.
After the auction, Mr Williamson said having the land in
common ownership allowed the company to pursue a variation to
an indigenous planting programme.
''It's convenient for the trust to own all of the lots at
this point but the residential lots will go on the market in
the future once the revegetation plan is well established and
the properties are ready for marketing and sale,'' Mr
He believed that might take three years.
The station's foreign owners carved off 38ha from the
26,000ha property for a luxury lodge and residential
development, which was sold to now bankrupt developer Rod
Nielsen in 2006.
Mr Nielsen's company, Walter Peak Developments, went bust in
2008, despite a $3.89 million loan made to the company by the
station's owners through Walter Peak Station Trust.
As revealed in yesterday's Otago Daily Times, the
mortgage securing the loan was not consented by the Overseas
Investment Office, and the office said it should have been.
Before going through the auction formalities yesterday, Mr
Grimmer surveyed the empty seats and said: ''Huge crowd; I've
done some shows but never a crowd like this.''
After the $1.945 million opening bids, the auctioneer got no