$15m block of land in St Heliers, Auckland, for sale after bitter divorce battle

Last updated 15:25 07/10/2017

More than $15 million worth of land on Waimarie St in Auckland's St Heliers has come up on the market after years of legal disputes.

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A $15 million piece of land in an upmarket Auckland suburb is now on the market after a long-running, bitter divorce dispute was settled. 

The 8495sqm site, once owned by former millionaire property developer Greg Olliver and ex-wife and PR boss Sarah Sparks, spans nine titles at Waimarie St in St Heliers, overlooking the Hauraki Gulf. 

The tranche of properties, ranging between 255 and 2999sqm have a combined valuation of $15.64m, and have been listed for sale under instruction by KPMG liquidators after being tied up in legal disputes for close to four years. 

Olliver and Sparks separated in 2012, divorcing in 2014. 

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Olliver and Sparks bought the Waimarie St properties in March 2009 for $8.3 million. 

The purchase was mainly funded by a $6.75m loan from the Bank of New Zealand, partly secured on the properties and sold to a company Olliver directed, CIT Holdings, despite him facing insolvency.  

The two-year loan was made despite Olliver being deep in the red at that time with debts exceeding $90m.

Their relationship started to deteriorate in 2010 when Sparks became increasingly concerned with Olliver's financial dealings, sparking what would be a litigious and acrimonious divorce. 

Sparks appeared in court charged with physically abusing Olliver in 2013, but the charge was later dropped. When ordered to return properties under control to Olliver's company, Sparks placed caveats on the titles, claiming a beneficial interest in them.

A Hight Court bid by Olliver to remove Spark's company's interests was then dismissed in 2014, preventing him from selling them.

A BNZ witness told the court at the time the bank was owed more than $10m. If Sparks' interests were not removed, the bank would have no choice but to sell the properties through mortgagee sale. 

A receivers' report by Insolvency Management in June 2017 showed CIT Holdings owed the Bank of New Zealand $13,523,622.07 - more than double the mortgage taken out in 2009.

This week, the land was marketed for sale as either nine separate sections or as one combined block.

Bayleys Auckland's salesman Mike Adams said it was hard to put a price on the land because of the size, scale and potential development opportunities.  

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"Very rarely does a landholding of this size in such a commanding and prominent position come onto the market for sale."

Under the Unitary Plan, the Waimarie St land is zoned residential - mixed housing suburban, allowing for the building of one or two-storey standalone homes in various densities depending on section sizes. 

Tenders close at 4pm on November 8. 

- Stuff

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