Ghost town: Project now a house boneyard

LITTLE PROGRESS: Construction has halted while the company waits for funds.
Mark Taylor

LITTLE PROGRESS: Construction has halted while the company waits for funds.

Lack of funds for a prominent Hamilton building company has stalled construction on six giant Tamahere properties.

Neighbours say development south-east of the city on Hart Rd, owned by development company LV Park, hasn't seen any significant progress since November.

The end of the road is a boneyard of houses. The skeletons of incomplete constructions are perched on overgrown sections. Not a tree has been planted, not a garden has been dug.

Troy Hung, who is involved in selling the properties on behalf of LV Park, said construction had halted while the company waited for funds.

He said the company had been trying to sell the completed houses to raise money for construction, "but they are not easy houses to sell, only because the demand for 9-bedroom houses is a niche market".

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Hung said he was speculating, but he didn't think LV Park was in financial strife.

Five of the 11 almost-identical houses are finished, but in most cases the meagre, weed-strewn gravel driveways don't even reach the front doors.

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The rest are in various stages of completion.

Three don't have roofs or covers, the framing timber discoloured from exposure to the elements.

The houses, around 500 square metres each, are being marketed on greengardens.co.nz for between $1.69 million and $1.79m.

The website also lists properties for sale in Karaka, Papakura, Orewa, and Huntly - several of which are incomplete.

Hung said LV Park had built between 80 and 100 houses in the last four years and had sold almost all of them.

He said the company was trying to find buyers for the Tamahere properties in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand.

He said LV Park would complete the houses this year regardless of sales, but didn't know where the money would come from.

Meanwhile the wooden framing, which is treated for interior use, is left exposed to the elements.

The boron treatment used to protect interior timber is water soluble and can slowly leach out if exposed to the rain.

That can increase the risk of fungal and insect damage to the frame later on.

Timber can also swell and warp if it gets wet.

Sue Duignan, general manager of customer support at Waikato District Council said neighbours had raised issues about the properties with her.

"The unfinished housing is not something we can deal with legislatively. Council building inspectors have advised the owner of their concerns from a deterioration point of view which may require further works by the developer to bring up to standard.

"We have made a recent request to meet with the owners of the properties. If a building was left uncovered it is difficult to say how long before decay would set in, this would depend on the treatment of the timber and the time it is exposed to the elements.

"The builders at Hart Road are taking steps to limit exposure of the buildings, however if our building inspectors find decay in any subsequent building inspections they will require it to be removed and replaced."

She said the developer had verbally agreed to landscape the sites, but the council couldn't enforce that.

Tamahere residents have raised concerns with Waikato District Council that two of the completed houses were being used as student accommodation, which could qualify as commercial activity. LV Park agreed in 2013 to covenants which disallowed using the houses as commercial hostels or student accommodation.

Hung said he had not visited the properties recently and did not know who was living there.

LV Park director Gang Wang, known as Thomas Wang, did not respond to calls on the matter.

 - Waikato Times

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