Kiwi developers link with Donald Trump

Last updated 09:17 30/07/2012
Donald Trump
Donald Trump.

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A pair of property developers, originally from Christchurch, have led super-sized projects offshore, with the latest a multibillion-dollar Rio de Janeiro plan involving United States real estate mogul Donald Trump.

The pair, Richard Macdonald and Myles Summerfield, have family members still in Christchurch but for many years have been based in Europe, where they have set up Bulgarian-based real estate developer MRP International, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Garden City developer Richard Peebles worked with Macdonald in Christchurch in the early to mid-1990s in a commercial real estate firm, Pacific Real Estate. They had also made some small investments in the commercial property sphere at that time.

He says Macdonald is an entrepreneur and that he himself has been working for the MRP International pair on potential Australasian projects, particularly in Sydney.

He notes that MRP has spread its wings to Britain and Brazil and has not been slowed down by the ongoing European financial crisis.

"He's a very aggressive entrepreneurial type . . . he started in Christchurch and then shot off to bigger and better things in far flung lands," Peebles said. "It really is a small town success."

The Wall Street Journal reports that a consortium led by MRP International, and including the Trump Organisation, is planning to develop six new waterfront office buildings in Rio de Janeiro's central port district.

The project would aim to capitalise on the city's revitalisation as it prepares to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

The consortium's proposal envisions six 50-storey towers with a total of 322,400 square metres of office space, having a final value as high as US$2.5 billion (NZ$3.13b).

"They're on the verge of doing one of the biggest commercial property deals in the world at the moment," Peebles said of the project.

MRP's website shows a number of huge projects the company, led by Macdonald and Summerfield, has been involved in since it was established in 2003.

Summerfield was involved in a successful development company in New Zealand from 1992-97, it says. Peebles said Macdonald had left New Zealand with his wife in the mid-1990s, and had done extremely well in the property development market.

One of MRP's projects is a giant new retail office mall in Sofia, Bulgaria where the company had been involved in €2 billion to €3b (NZ$3-4.5b) of property projects.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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