Carisbrook sold in confidential deal; destined for industrial use

The Dunedin City Council has signed a deal to sell Carisbrook, but the buyer and the price could remain under wraps for months, Mayor Dave Cull says.

He confirmed yesterday the council had signed a conditional, and confidential, agreement to sell the stadium to an unnamed buyer.

Radio New Zealand reported the buyer was Calder Stewart. The construction firm would not comment when contacted today.

The purchaser planned to develop the site for industrial use, in keeping with its industrial zoning, Mr Cull said.

However, whether the deal would cover the debt still held by the council, following its purchase of the stadium in 2009, could not be confirmed yesterday.

The buyer had not yet been identified, and was conducting due diligence before the deal went unconditional, Mr Cull said.

That could take ''weeks or months'', after which the sale price and other details would be revealed, he said.

The news comes after councillors debated the merits of the deal during a marathon three-hour session held behind closed doors at the end of the public part of Monday's full council meeting.

The public agenda listed ''property matters'' as one of two items to be considered during the meeting's non-public section.

The ODT understands two competing deals may have been considered before a decision was reached by councillors late on Monday.

Council acting chief executive Tony Avery and city property manager Robert Clark did not respond to ODT calls yesterday, and councillors were under instructions not to comment to media.

The council bought the ground - together with surrounding Burns St homes and land - for $7 million in 2009, but had since sold the homes and half the Burns St car park.

That left the stadium, and the other half of the car park, still to be sold, and about $4 million of the original $7 million cost of the purchase still to be covered.

In early November, Mr Clark confirmed he was in talks with two ''substantial'' buyers, and was finalising a conditional document with one that would require approval at a full council meeting.

He hoped to secure a sale that would more than cover the outstanding $4 million, but said price was ''always a negotiating point until the deal is completed''.

The council had originally hoped to sell the ground by October 1, 2011, to avoid accruing holding costs once the Otago Rugby Football Union quit the site then.

That had not happened, and the bill from holding costs had risen to about $200,000 by last November, Mr Clark confirmed.

Mr Cull yesterday confirmed a deal to sell the remaining half of the Burns St car park was also under negotiation.


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