Old Napier hospital site goes to Todd Property in conservation land swap
By Pattrick Smellie
Aug. 25 (BusinessDesk) – Todd Property Group has put the Hawkes District Health Board out of its misery as owner of the shuttered Napier hospital in a land swap deal that also relieves TPG, a large-scale property developer, of a headache on coastal land north of Whangarei.
In a deal brokered with the Department of Conservation, Todd has agreed to swap 80 hectares of environmentally sensitive land on the Ngunguru Spit, which previous developers had failed to gain resource consents to develop, for the five hectare Napier site, on a headland overlooking the city and port.
While sale prices have not been disclosed, Health Minister Tony Ryall said the Crown Health Financing Agency, which managed the deal, “will have realised in excess of $13 million from the sale of the site”.
That figure is close to the lower end of valuations disclosed during court proceedings over the failed sale of the site in 2008, at an agreed price of $20 million, to the Prime Property Group.
TPG chief executive Evan Davies told BusinessDesk it was “reasonable to assume from the way in which the transaction was announced that the sale of one asset and the purchase of the other, after close scrutiny by the Crown, that values being attributed were fair and reasonable.”
While TPG was giving up a development option at Ngunguru Spit, it was “debatable” whether resource consents could ever have been issued over the area, given the depth of local and environmental group opposition to developing what was a “very large area of spectacular coastal land.”
Media reports first mentioned the potential for an unspecified land swap as long as two years ago.
The move was welcomed by the Environmental Defence Society’s coastal campaigner, Raewyn Peart, as “a pretty good outcome after all these years”, while the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board will use funds released to build a new mental health unit, Health Minister Tony Ryall said.
TPG, a company owned by the Todd family, often described as New Zealand’s wealthiest, is a large-scale residential property developer, with interests still in non-sensitive land at Ngunguru, the Stonefields development between Panmure and Remuera in Auckland, and a 2500-dwelling development at Long Bay, on Auckland’s North Shore.