New owners for Avalon Studios

HANK SCHOUTEN
Last updated 14:46 28/04/2012
Avalon LS
New Zealand's first custom-built television centre, Avalon Studios, has about 60 permanent staff.

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The Avalon Studios and its adjoining office tower may both soon have new owners and there are suggestions they may be in common ownership again.

TVNZ confirmed last week that the studios had been sold conditionally, but the name of the buyer and the sale price are still confidential.

The neighbouring office tower, which also used to be owned by TVNZ, has been under contract since about the start of the year and is due to go unconditional early next week, real estate agent Carl Hastings said.

He was not able to name the buyer – "they're a property practice and I don't think they're connected to the studio buyer".

"We haven't asked too many questions but they could be fronting for another buyer.

"The deal was subject to full due diligence and the long period of time made us sort of believe it could be bundled in with next door."

However, he said the Avalon Tower sale contract was for nearly $5 million.

The tower was sold by TVNZ to Wellington investor Ian Sweetapple in 2004 for about $4m after it had been on the market for five years.

Sweetapple later subdivided and sold adjoining land which has since been developed by Lower Hutt's City Living Group as the Avalon Business Park.

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace said last week he understood the buyer of the television studios was intending to continue using it as an operational centre and to grow the business.

A spokesman for Sir Peter Jackson said the Lord of the Rings director was not the buyer. Wellington-based Gibson Group production company also said it was not involved.

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- The Dominion Post

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