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Abandoned coastal subdivision placed on the market in mortgagee sale

Tags: Residential

A planned waterfront holiday home subdivision previously operated as a classic Kiwi campground has been placed on the market for sale by its mortgagee…. with instructions that the sections must be sold.

Blue Bay Motor Camp on Mahia Peninsula midway between Gisborne and Napier operated for approximately 60 years as a tent and caravan campground until it closed in the early-2000s, and was subsequently landscaped into the genesis of an exclusive residential enclave.

In its heyday, the Blue Bay Motor Camp reportedly accommodated up to 10,000 holiday-makers over the busy summer period from December through to March.

The subdivision of Blue Bay Motor Camp into waterfront sections was taken on by a Wellington property developer who set about constructing paved avenues, and installing necessary infrastructure - including street lighting, sewerage, drainage, and a water supply system.

Under its original lay-out completed in 2004, the subdivision contained 44 sections set amongst grass-covered sand dunes. Seven sections were sold to private individuals, with Wairoa District Council purchasing two further sites in 2012 to establish Mahia Peninsula’s Opoutama Community Wastewater Scheme.

The various roads and streets associated with the Blue Bay subdivision, and the original water and sewerage scheme installed some 13 years ago, have both been passed on to Wairoa District Council to operate.

However, the developer faced financial difficulties and the Blue Bay subdivision was taken back by the mortgagee. It was subsequently sold to a second developer in 2008 – shortly before the global financial crisis struck, and the asset has remained dormant since then.

Now the 2.90 hectare Blue Bay subdivision is being marketed for sale by mortgagee tender through Bayleys Gisborne, with tenders closing at 2pm on September 13, 2017.

Bayleys Gisborne salesperson Katie Bowen said that while the mortgagee would prefer selling all 35 lots in one unified portfolio, they would also consider tenders for individual sections or smaller blocks of multiple sections.

Ms Bowen said carved stone sculptures installed by the original developer were still on site, although in a somewhat state of disrepair, while wilding pines had grown up amidst the individual plots – giving some degree of privacy to most of the sections.

The 35 lots now for sale still have the original utility services connected to their boundary lines, although Ms Bowen said they may need some maintenance work to make them operative.

The prime coastal Mahia sections for sale range in size from 672 – 1131 square metres. Latest Wairoa District Council rating valuations on the sections range from $67,000 to $143,000 – well down from the $650,000 price tags associated with some of the plots when they first went on sale 12 years ago.

“We expect strong interest from developers and individuals along the East Coast, as well as Auckland, Tauranga, and Wellington,” she said.

The controversial conversion of Blue Bay Motor Camp into a private development, and the subsequent marketing of the sections for sale, caused both local and national consternation at the highest level in the mid-2000s. the project was the subject of a New Zealand-made documentary film called The Last Resort.

Then New Zealand First MP Peter Brown raised the issue in parliament, stating: “What you are doing is prepared to put land on the worldwide market that New Zealanders cannot compete for.”

Ms Bowen said that ironically, the current mortgagee sale would certainly be targeted at the local market “and within the reach of both the Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay holiday home prospective buyer markets.”

Ms Bowen said Mahia Peninsula’s global profile had recently “sky-rocketed”, literally, with satellite and spacecraft-making Kiwi business phenomenon Rocket Lab building its launching facility in the area.

“This part of the East Coast has traditionally drawn visitor numbers based on its natural attractions… the fishing, the surfing, the diving and the bush walks. However, as the frequency of Rocket Lab’s satellite launches increases, Mahia could well become the Cape Canaveral of New Zealand, and attract a whole new visitor sector,” she said.

“That could have a consequential effect on the demand for holiday homes in the area.”

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