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Dave Henderson and Property Ventures' - Queenstown

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  • Dave Henderson and Property Ventures' - Queenstown

    Situation fluid as deadline looms for Henderson
    by Chris Hutching
    Friday July 4 2008 - 02:58pm

    The Sydenham Square development block owned by Christchurch developer Dave Henderson's Property Ventures was advertised for sale this week - a day after two liquidation applications were notified for a hearing on July 21.

    Sydenham Square was one of his key projects, similar in design to the uncompleted Five Mile development at Queenstown. Last weekend contractor Buzz March filled in the foundation trenches he excavated at Sydenham Square a year ago to prepare the property for the market.

    Most of Property Ventures' completed and uncompleted developments are now on the market. Mr Henderson also retains a Queenstown winery property in Gibbston Valley in his own right that he acquired from Property Ventures in 2005. He also has interests in development properties in Vanuatu and Paraparamu.

    The fortunes of Mr Henderson have excited the southern business community because of the extent of his projects and the potential impact his fortunes could have on one of his major lenders - Hanover Finance, the country's third largest property financier.

    Hanover has been carrying out its own capital restructuring ahead of its June 30 balance date and continues to advertise for deposits.

    Much of the commentary in business circles focuses on whether Hanover continues to support Property Ventures.

    "It's true there's a bit of a symbiotic relationship between us," Mr Henderson said.

    He also said he believed he had settled the dispute over debts owed to liquidation applicant Smith Crane & Construction, for work at Queenstown but owner Tim Smith indicated he had yet to be satisfied.

    There were other creditors prepared to support the liquidation, which placed Smith Crane and Construction in an invidious position, Mr Smith said.

    If its debt was satisfied and another creditor took its place and succeeded in a liquidation application, Smith Crane would have to repay the money under preferential creditor rules that extend back six months before a liquidation.

    There was a hitch to the liquidation advertisement last week when an anonymous caller cancelled the advertisement.

    The Press claims a log of phone calls around the same time includes one phone call from the offices of Property Ventures.

    Meanwhile, Mr Henderson, known for his long battle against Inland Revenue's attempts to bankrupt him in 1998 (the subject of a recent movie), remains upbeat and open to media calls.

    He gave an address to last week's Property Institute conference, amusing attendees with tales of how he used to turn up the air conditioning when summonsed to the many meetings at IRD headquarters in Christchurch, leaving officials in a sweat.

    He acknowledged that with the drying up of mezzanine funding, the only way to proceed with any ventures was to achieve a high level of pre-sales.

    In the circumstances he was looking to shed peripheral staff and sell development properties.

    He described Sydenham Square as a $4 million block of land and a small asset in the totality of Property Ventures.

    "Maybe there's some more prosaic commercial use for it than the mixed use plan I had envisaged."

    Property Ventures is a public, unlisted company with about 850 shareholders, half of them overseas. The company was founded by US-based investment guru Dolf de Roos in 1997. The main assets of Property Ventures include: Sydenham Square, a vacant lot in Christchurch City, which covers most of a city block; Five Mile in Queenstown next to the airport where a large basement has been excavated (aka locally as "Hendo's hole"); LivingSpace budget apartments in Christchurch, Invercargill and Dunedin; South of Lichfield, a redeveloped block of heritage buildings containing bars, restaurants and Property Ventures offices; Hotel So, a budget hotel in central Christchurch; Heritage Estate, a partially sold down subdivision at Te Anau; and St Arnoud Nelson Lakes subdivision at marketing stage.

    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx

  • #2
    Doesn't look good at all, I wonder if Hanover would be the next one to go under...
    If I had any money invested with them I would pull it out ASAP.
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