Upper Hutt mall sold to Auckland investor

HANK SCHOUTEN
PROPERTY REPORTER
Last updated 14:27 14/09/2012
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KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
ESCALATION: Upper Hutt's The Mall complex.

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Upper Hutt's The Mall shopping centre is understood to have been sold to an Auckland businessman who plans to invest more in the city’s flagging Main St shopping area.

Andrew Budge, who specialises in retail property investment, is expected to confirm the sale which goes unconditional today.

The price is believed to be less than $20 million – well under half the $50 million owed to its financiers by former Mall Owners Trentham City Investments.Mr Budge –  who also owns the Bush Inn retail centre in Riccarton, Christchurch –  was not available for comment.

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy welcomed Mr Budge’s investment saying he was pleased to see he had further plans for the mall and other retail space on Main St which was sold at the same time.

‘‘It’s exciting time for retailing in Upper Hutt with the new owner and the plans he has.’’

The Mall’s fortunes were hit by from the global financial crisis. It’s last major redevelopment was completed just before the start of the crisis which caused major problems for the finance and retail sectors,  said Mr Guppy.

The mall, which was owned by Australian-based Pelorous Property in partnership with Upper Hutt businessmen Colin and Michael Gibbs, was put up for mortgagee sale in July.

New Zealand Property Finance Partners held a $24.2m first mortgage over the property.  It will not get all its money back from the sale but the failed South Canterbury Finance stands to lose all the $26.6m it advanced as a second mortgage.

The sale was brokered by Colliers International agents Richard Findlay, Chris Gollins and Bill Leckie.The property includes more than 2.5 hectares of land, over 300 car parks, and other commercial buildings just south of The Mall which are leased to Smiths City, Pets Centre, Ascot Cinema and the Defence Force.

The Warehouse and Farmers are the two largest tenants in the two-level 17,000 square metre mall, which also has 40 smaller shops. Other tenants include Postie Plus, Michael Hill, ASB and Hallensteins.

The shopping centre was originally developed in the 1970s by AMP. It was then called the Logan Plaza.

Contact Hank Schouten
Property reporter
Email: hank.schouten@dompost.co.nz

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