The vacant site on which the Apartments are built was used for car parking was owned by the Ministry of Justice- Courts Department and had been intended for development of additional Court House Buildings. It also included a Fish and Chip Shop off Molesworth Street, well know as the place where Labour MP’s met to plan to take over Government. Behind it was a historic brick building, one of the first of its type erected in Wellington.
Proposals were sought for the purchase of the site which required, in additional to the offer of an appropriate sum, the design of the buildings that would be built on the property. There were a number of offers put forward to build office blocks, but our proposal was for a upmarket Apartment building with a design prepared by Hunt Davies Tennant Architects which took the attention of the owners and enabled us to purchase the property even though not the highest tender.
The initial project was put together by Tim Tepaki who had done previous Apartment developments in Wellington and had worked with Holmes Construction who were brought in to be the Construction company.
Alan Stewart joined the group putting up of the funds for the purchase of the land having recently sold his interests in the Hansells Food Manufacturing business.
The consortium of the three parties took the project through the planning stages, and then offering Apartments for sale.
Colliers were engaged as Sales Agents and two of the earlier purchasers were John Feast and Peter Wilkin both senior Colliers personnel. Friends and family were encouraged to purchase Apartments and an arrangement was entered into with an Investors Group to take the Apartments on levels three to seven, excluding the corner Apartments at reduced pricing as Shell Apartments, excluding the fit out allowing them to plan their own fit outs with a separate contract. This resulted in sufficient sales to be achieved to enable the project to proceed.
Funding came with the first mortgage from Westpac Bank and a second mortgage from Strategic Finance with a team put together to undertake the construction project.
There were some shortcomings in the initial specifications, errors made in the sale of the Shop property now operating as Cellarvate and in after reviewing a recent development by Tim Tepaki, seeing some faults and problems, Alan Stewart took over the management of the project.
To ensure that the view from Apartments could never be built out the air rights over the Backbencher were purchased for $1M. There were a number of issues in this connection particularly with the proximity to the Backbencher involving the removal and replacement of their fire escape which caused additional costs and difficulties during the course of the construction project.
Ed Cooke of Wollerman Cooke & McClure, Greytown handled the legal side of the development, and sale of the Apartments holding deposits prior to construction and settlement. He also prepared the initial Body Corp Rules. The project was completed in January 2004 and settlements took place.
It was interesting that following completion of the development financial statements the Inland Revenue challenged the income having obtained copies of the Sale and Purchase Agreements and totalled them and claiming that the amount returned for Income was less than the total of the Sale and Purchase Agreements. What they had omitted to do was deduct GST and on doing so were shown that the amount returned as income was within one dollar of the total of the Sale and Purchase Agreements, after deducting GST.
On completion Holmes Construction, Tim Tepaki and Alan Stewart each received an Apartment from their share of the profits of the development with Alan Stewart taking over the remaining five Apartments that had not been sold in return for his initial investment.
The first meeting of Owners was held on 24th September 2004, and appointed the initial Body Corp Committee, set Body Corp fees and approve the Body Corp Rules. Glynis Campbell was employed as Body Corp Manager and provided with the Manager’s Apartment owned by the Body Corp but with the Body Corp not being a legal entity, ownership was registered in the joint names and Alan Stewart and Ed Cooke as Trustees.
Initially the Apartments fitted out by the Investment Group all went to Tenants and there was a high proportion of Tenants in the building but one by one they have been sold to Owner residents so that the number of tenants have reduced each year. There have been many sales of Apartments over the years and a high demand for purchasing Apartments as they become available.