Hotchin's mansion on brink of sale

GREG NINNESS
Last updated 16:05 30/07/2013
One of the owners of failed Hanover Finance, Mark Hotchin
Fairfax NZ
SALE NEAR: One of the owners of failed Hanover Finance, Mark Hotchin, is understood to be near to selling his Auckland mansion.
Deyi Shi
Oravida
GOLF MATES: Deyi Shi and Prime Minister John Key in October 2012.

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The sale of the Hotchin mansion on Auckland's upmarket Paritai Drive is expected to be finalised within the next two weeks.

Market speculation is focusing on the family of a prominent Chinese businessman with extensive business interests in this country as the most likely buyer.

Graham Wall, the real estate agent handling the sale of the sprawling clifftop mansion built by former Hanover director Mark Hotchin, said a sale was close.

"Supremely confident is how we'd describe our situation. But we've quite a few jumps to get through before before we could say we've sold the house," Wall said.

When asked about market speculation that the most likely buyer was Deyi Shi, the chairman and principal of Oravida Group, and that a price of just under $40 million had been tentatively agreed, Wall replied: "That's not quite right. You are way ahead of everything. There is no deal yet."

When asked how far off a deal was, Wall said it would probably be a couple of weeks before there would be "absolute certainty that we've done a deal".

"We are talking to three potential buyers. There's no deal done yet. But we are confident, very confident," he said.

Oravida Group specialises in exporting New Zealand food, including dairy products, seafood and honey, to China.

Oravida is also an active investor in New Zealand. It owns the landmark former Ports of Auckland building on Quay St in Downtown Auckland and also owns a 5 per cent stake in NZX-listed honey products company Comvita.

It is also well connected with the Government. Oravida's website has photos of Shi playing golf with Prime Minister John Key and the company has been listed as a major donor to the National Party.

The land the Paritai Drive house sits on is owned by a Hotchin family trust, although the house has never been lived in.

Wall's website describes it as "the most valuable home ever completed in New Zealand".

It sits on a 4320 square metre section. The main house covers 2600sqm with a guesthouse providing another 150sqm of space.

The property boasts spectacular views across the Hauraki Gulf and the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour, from the house itself and also from its large swimming pool and full-sized tennis court.

Wall listed the property for sale with an asking price of $50m and if it sells for close to $40m, as rumoured, it may be this country's most expensive residential property sale.

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Russian billionaire Alexander Abramov was also rumoured to have paid about $40m for his Northland mansion although that price has never been confirmed.

However, it is uncertain how much of any sale proceeds from the Paritai Drive property would flow back to the Hotchin family or their related trusts.

The property is subject to a High Court asset preservation order which stems from legal action by the Financial Markets Authority in regard to the failure of Hanover Finance.

According to Oravida, Shi was overseas and unavailable to comment.

- BusinessDay.co.nz

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