Shelly Bay land could be sold well under value – developer.

Shelly Bay land  could be sold well under value – developer.

Wellington City Council-owned land at Shelly Bay could be sold well under value potentially costing the ratepayer millions, says a developer.

Building Solutions director Richard Burrell proposed to purchase the land for $10 million in a submission to the Wellington City Council on Wednesday, a figure well over the $2.7m he believes council to be considering.

Burrell said he believed the site was being sold significantly below market value.

“Wellington City is currently experiencing the greatest property boom the city has seen since 1910, and this has been inflated by the earthquake.”

Burrell asked the council to place the Shelly Bay site with real estate agents to achieve maximum value for the sale.

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“If the city’s intention is to discount the sites for cultural, sporting, and urban design let’s have a transparent process. The ratepayers should be told the reasons why.”

He argued that the city should not sell land unless it was for a premium value, and urged the council to have an open and transparent process in the sale of public assets.

“This is unique. You cannot buy any waterfront land in the city. In Auckland this would be a $30m or $40m site.”

The proposed development of the council-owned land by property developer, the Wellington Company, has ties to the iwi-mandated Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust plot that was part of the Taranaki Whānui Treaty of Waitangi settlement in 2008.

Trust chairman Wayne Mulligan told Radio New Zealand last month,”It has got to be remembered that council own a lot of land around Shelly Bay too. So we can’t do a development and they can’t do a development without us.”

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The council decided to exclude the public from the discussion of sale due to commercial sensitivities, but not without reservations voiced by councillor Andy Foster who noted transparency was key in the sale of public assets.

“The reason we’re going into public exclusion is really about the numbers,” Foster said.

“When we go out to consultation on this, for people to give us any meaningful feedback they’re going to need some numbers.”

Councillor Iona Pannett said she was not entirely comfortable with the process.“There is a need for some policy development to make sure that it is done in a transparent manner.  “We need to be very clear when we are talking about ratepayer money.”

Mayor Justin Lester agreed that all information should be made publicly available, but only when council moved to public consultation.

“I think that it is a transaction taking place with which we are better off having the information available.”


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Article by Safia Archer

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