New investors kickstarting stalled subdivision

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 15:21 30/12/2013
Kaiuma

Artist’s impression: The planned marina at Kaiuma Bay

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Two investors say they are breathing new life into a stalled subdivision at Kaiuma Bay, in Pelorus Sound near Havelock.

Sounds Lifestyle Investments has bought Kaiuma Park Estate from Marlborough multi-millionaire Peter Yealands, who started marketing the 121-hectare subdivision with a planned 52-berth marina in 2004.

Since then, one permanent home and two holiday houses have been built, another is under way and a section is being cleared.

The deal was sealed in October at an undisclosed price.

Blenheim businessman Lee Gilbert owns 50 per cent of Sounds Lifestyle Investments and said after semi-retirement that he was looking forward to day-to-day involvement with Kaiuma.

The company had bought a digger and truck to clear sections and employed Don Sutton, who built the first Havelock marina, as project manager, he said.

The company would pick up plans to build a 95-berth marina and possibly a restaurant but the idea of developing a golf course had been scrapped.

The timing of the venture was good, with strong demand for seaside sections that had road access, Mr Gilbert said. This might be the last opportunity to buy into a new community in the Marlborough Sounds.

Covenants attached to titles prohibited owners from felling native trees, owning cats or planting pest species.

Joe Lupi, who owns a Century 21 franchise in Wellington, is the other partner in Sounds Lifestyle Investments. New Zealand Companies Office records show he holds 1 per cent of the company but he told the Express he owns the remaining 49 per cent through a trust.

Mr Lupi said Mr Yealands had spent about $10 million during the past 10 years developing roads and building sites on the sections.

The remaining 141 sections should be worth about $25 million, based on recent sales at $150,000-$380,000 and a rateable value of about $200,000.

Mr Yealands had sold about 50 of 75 sections, including one to Mr Lupi.

Sounds Lifestyles Investments had already sold two sections for $150,000 each to former Montana executive Gerry Gregg.

Power has been supplied to the subdivision, sewage schemes built and the roads sealed and named.

Mr Gilbert and Mr Lupi have been known each other since football days when they were manager and player-coach of the Blenheim Valley Colts.

Mr Yealands said the new owners would provide the burst of enthusiasm the project needed but it would be some years until sales picked up.

The owner of Yealands Estate Wines, he would retain 700ha of exotic forest at Kaiuma, 800ha of indigenous forest being logged under a sustainable management plan and also some land from the subdivision providing access.

TIMELINE

June 2004: Peter Yealands announces plans for the 120ha Kaiuma Park Estate subdivision, including building a marina.

September 2004: Century 21 reports that nearly half of the 30 sections up for grabs in stage one of the subdivision are under offer.

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November 2005: Marlborough District Council hearing to consider the application for 75 lots of the 200-section Kaiuma subdivision and a 52-berth marina.

March 2006: The council give consent for the subdivision.

August 2006: Yealands increases size of proposed marina to 95 berths and announces New Zealand's fastest internet connection will service the development.

January 2007: Thirty Havelock residents oppose a quarry providing gravel for a new road to the Kaiuma subdivision.

April 2007: Council gives consent for the quarry.

March 2008: Council gives consent for the enlarged marina.

November 2008: Kaiuma put on hold because the market is dead.

March 2011: Work begins on a shortcut across the mouth of the Pelorus River to Kaiuma.

November 2012: Bridge opened across the Pelorus River, cutting the driving time to Kaiuma Bay by about 20 minutes. The bridge and the road into the bay cost about $3 million. Mr Yealands says he is looking for a developer to complete the subdivision.

October 2013: Sounds Lifestyle Investments buys the balance of lots in Kaiuma Park Estate.

- The Marlborough Express

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