Belfast site for sale after SCF bailout

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 11:45 29/05/2013
belfast landscape

FOR SALE: The Crown took over the Belfast site after taxpayers bailed out South Canterbury Finance.

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A large block of Belfast land is being marketed again as the Government tries to claw back more cash from the taxpayer bailout of collapsed South Canterbury Finance.

The Government took over the site from receivers after it spent $1.75 billion bailing out the Timaru financier's 35,000 investors in 2010 under the Crown Guarantee Scheme.

The land is a 58-hectare rural block east of the Belfast freezing works, on the northern outskirts of Christchurch.

South Canterbury Finance had bought the grazing land, plus the freezing works site, under the company names Belfast Park Ltd and Tyrone Estates with plans to develop them. However, it never got the chance to subdivide either block.

The company's receivers pushed on with the development plans, and the eastern block was successfully approved by the Environment Court in 2011 to be rezoned for housing.

Four objectors attempted appeals but the Christchurch City Council plan change came into effect last year.

Despite advertising the land for sale from late 2011, the receivers did not find a buyer, and subdivision design work has continued in the meantime.

Last year, the Government set up Crown Asset Management, a company formed to hold the liquidated assets of South Canterbury Finance as well as four other finance companies it had bailed out.

Crown Asset Management is now pushing the sale again, having hired real estate firm Colliers as marketing agent.

Neither Hamish Doig, managing director of Colliers, or Ian Thompson, principal of TML Asset Management who is acting as a consultant to Crown Asset Management, wished to comment on the sale.

The land is on Blakes Rd and Belfast Rd, and has the Kaputone Stream running through it. It is also near the corridor earmarked for the proposed western bypass, a motorway which would link Christchurch to the existing northern motorway.

Already in an area earmarked for urban development, it is now zoned for a combination of low and medium density housing and would hold about 64 sections. Two business-zoned blocks are also part of the sale, with the residential and business sites for sale together or separately.

Colliers' marketing material describes the residential sections as "entry level" and says significant ground, civil and design works have been completed on the site.

The adjacent freezing works land has been sold to developer Rapaki Group and will be developed for commercial and industrial use.

Other land destined for housing development in Belfast is the Belfast Village site west of Main North Rd. This project will create 2000 homes, with the first home and packages available from developers Noble Investments next year.

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