Skyscraper developer owns Shanghai Hotel
The mysterious developers of Auckland's new skyscraper own the Shanghai Marriott and large tracts of rural land north of Auckland.
Shanghai-based New Development Group has been granted resource consent by the Auckland Council to built a 52-storey tower block in the city centre.
At 209 metres, the $350m NDG Auckland Centre is set to be New Zealand's tallest inhabited building, beaten in height only by the Sky Tower.
It will include apartments, a cinema, restaurants and a 302-room hotel and is due for completion in 2020.
NDG's founder and chairman is Shanghai businessman Furu Ding whose interests own just under 1900ha of land in Northland and Waitakere.
Ding bought the site of the new skyscraper in 2012 for $53m.
The same year, he was granted permission to buy a 28ha property in Waitakere for $5m, stating that he intended to reside in New Zealand indefinitely.
According to its website, NDG is a substantial company with total assets worth NZ$1 billion, and interests in real estate, hotels, wood products, storage and investment.
It holds the Harcourts Real Estate Shanghai franchise and owns the 32-level Shanghai Marriott Changfeng Park.
Its New Zealand arm, Asia Pacific International Group (NZ), has interests in "real estate development, high-class residential project and luxury hotel construction".
Its current projects were listed as a five-star hotel and a 1820ha "land restoration project in northern Auckland."
Sources said the company was not backed by the Chinese government and did not have any immediate plans to develop its other New Zealand interests.
Harcourts New Zealand chief executive Hayden Duncan said there was no real connection between his firm and Harcourts Shanghai.
However, he was unsurprised that Ding had other land interests.
"I would imagine anyone that's building a 200-metre high skyscraper is going to have significant interests in all sorts of areas.
"So it wouldn't surprise me if they had interests in agriculture...as probably most significant land holders in New Zealand would have."
Of the tower, he said: "I think it's the best news that we've heard in relation to the stock and housing issue in Auckland for some time. We need 10 more of them."