A 40-hectare site in Warkworth, formerly known as the ‘Stubbs block’, could be turned into a “Millwater-style” development in a matter of years after it was recently bought by developers.
The land on Falls Road, between Viv Davie-Martin Drive and Hudson Road, has been purchased by Jamie Peters and Mark Francis.
Mr Peters says they are planning to create a development with hundreds of houses, a large retirement village, and a mix-use area for businesses and apartments.
He says the development will be similar to the Millwater development on the Hibiscus Coast.
“Millwater is a fantastic environment. I think it’s one of the best jobs I’ve seen,” Mr Peters says. “It’s a good example for other regions.”
The retirement village will probably be about six hectares and be a mix of apartments, houses and joint units.
He says talk that Warkworth is being turned into a retirement village for Auckland is “drivel”.
“There’s a place for everyone in Warkworth. You will see growth in all demographics.”
The mixed-business area would likely include warehouses, offices and apartments, where people can live and work.
“I can see massive amount of growth and there’s going to be a lot of business. A large portion of people want to move out of Auckland and mix work with lifestyle.”
He says Warkworth will grow significantly faster than Council has predicted, as the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway is going ahead and more people come to the area for the lifestyle.
“The population will double in the next five to seven years. If you look at all towns that have had a new motorway built, the location of entry and exit is where the growth is.
“But at the moment there is very little land for business or housing and nowhere near enough land live zoned.”
Mr Peters says the plans are still at an early stage, but they are working with Auckland Council to get the site live-zoned for development, and hope to apply for resource consent next year.
The land is zoned Future Urban in the Unitary Plan, and is not forecasted to be live-zoned for another six years.
But Mr Peters says they are aiming to have the land live-zoned either through a structure plan process, or a private plan change.
Mr Francis and Mr Peters also own the nine-hectare Ryburn farm opposite the site on Falls Road, where they plan to develop a more upmarket residential community.
They also did a 150-lot development off McKinney Road, which has been developed in conjunction with Golden Homes. Mr Peters says Golden Homes will also be involved in the Stubbs development.
Mr Peters made headlines in 2009 after being declared bankrupt, reportedly owing more than $180 million related to major property developments. His failed projects included a large subdivision in Gulf Harbour.
In 2012, the Official Assignee, a branch of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, sought a three-year extension to Mr Peters’ bankruptcy, but that was declined and he was discharged from bankruptcy in 2012.
He says he has left that period of his life behind him.
“It will never happen again. I don’t borrow money anymore.
“It was a big company for one guy. It was worth $450 million with $200 million in debt – it was too big.”
He says the money he owed was to banks, not individual investors.
He says his new role is to manage developments, while Mr Francis is the financial backer.
“I’m just the guy doing the work.”
Mr Francis is the managing director of Augusta Capital, which manages over 150 properties worth over $1 billion.