Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust closing on Shelly Bay sale
Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust (PNBST) is pushing ahead with plans to develop its land at Shelly Bay into a new suburb.
On Wednesday the trust confirmed it had entered a joint venture with the Wellington Company, the property development company of Ian Cassels, just months after its thousands of members voted down a different proposal with the same company.
Already the trust is facing fresh threats of legal action, but its chairman insisted the commercial board had acted within the terms of its deed, and a membership vote on the transaction was not required.
The commercial terms of the deal will depend on resource consent, however the trust is believed to be poised to receive a payment in the order of $5-$7 million.
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The Wellington Company is applying for the resource consent, for a project which could house 800 people, "immediately" the two parties said in a statement.
According to the statement the development would include retail space and a boutique hotel.
Jason Fox, chief executive of Taranaki Whānui – the commercial arm of PNBST, said the joint venture proposal took account PNBST members' feedback when they voted down the earlier proposal, including retention of the land and being involved in the development.
Ahead of the deal being announced, Catherine Love, the daughter of Sir Ngatata Love, a former chairman of the trust who earlier this month was found guilty of fraud, led a sit-down protest at the trust's offices demanding information about the sale.
Dr Kara Puketapu, a former secretary of the Ministry of Moari Affairs, said the decision should voted on at the trust's AGM in October.
"If they don't listen, there will be legal action and they as trustees will be personally liable," Puketapu said.
Andrew Mepham, a beneficiary of the trust, said he had seen documentation from the trust which showed the Wellington Company would ultimately own the land, with no residual ownership from the trust.
But trust chairman Neville Baker said the decision of the commercial board was legally sound.
"They've done all that's necessary to ensure that legally and commercially that we can be confident that this is something that will work and will continue."
Baker said the proposal put forward by the trust in 2015 proposed a sale to Cassels, but the current proposal was structured as a joint venture, so the consent of members was not required.
The joint venture would see profits shared and allow the trust to take part in the development at a number of stages.
The development would add "significantly" to Wellington, Baker said.
"This is going to be the first development of this scale in Wellington in many, many years, which is going to create a new suburb in a very special environment," Baker said.
"We're getting interest from a number of prominent Wellington people wanting to examine the prospect of buying and living there."
The Wellington-headquartered trust, which represents thousands of Wellington and Taranaki Maori, gained ownership of the trust as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement.
Buildings on the site of laid derelict for years. Sir Ngatata Love faced fraud charges in relation to an earlier attempt to develop a film museum on the site, however this was dropped when his partner was granted a stay of prosecution on account of her health.
Cassels said discussions were also underway with Wellington City Council regarding some of the adjacent land to bring the $300 million master plan for Shelly Bay to fruition.
The project had the potential to deliver one of Wellington and New Zealand's most exciting mixed-used developments,which would become home to more than 800 residents.
The proposed development included 300 houses, offering a variety of housing options, a boutique hotel and a restaurant, he said.
"A key element of the development is approximately 6,400 square metres of public open space and a proposed ferry connection to the CBD that will make Shelly Bay not only a short commute, but an easily reached destination for visitors."
Council chief executive Kevin Lavery said while the location came under the SHA designation, the development still required resource consent.
It would be important to the council that the development enhances Shelly Bay as a public destination and a point of interest along the scenic marine drive and that it protects its unique public amenity.