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$4m vacant lot of lost dreams

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  • $4m vacant lot of lost dreams

    $4m vacant lot of lost dreams

    4:00AM Sunday Sep 13, 2009
    By Jane Phare
    Ivan Erceg. Photo / Herald on Sunday
    The Public Trust has seized control of Ivan Erceg's waterfront cliff-edge section in Auckland - which borders billionaire Graeme Hart's $22m property - after he defaulted on mortgage payments.
    The steep, overgrown site, which has a council CV of $4.22m, will be put up for mortgagee sale on Tuesday after Erceg fell behind in mortgage payments. Erceg, brother of late liquor baron Michael Erceg, paid $3.7m for the land three years ago.
    The 3000sq m section, clinging to the cliff at Glendowie with grandstand views of Rangitoto, is the site of lost dreams for previous owners.
    Council records show various plans for elaborate houses, including a Simon Carnachan design, which have never been built.
    A set of abandoned concrete pillars rises out of the tangle of scrub, trees and gorse - sign that someone began building a pole house years ago.
    Cliffs towering above the site have become a colourful canvas for graffiti artists, who have sprayed paint on every surface, undisturbed for years.
    Graffiti-covered steel girders protruding from three cave-like indents in the cliff look like the beginnings of a three-car garage. The sea view is all but obscured by overgrown trees.
    The badly neglected land has changed hands four times in the past 26 years and has never been built on.
    In 1983, it sold for $60,000. Curiously, it sold for just $48,000 four years later. Then the property boom hit Auckland and in 1994 it sold for $2.3m. Erceg bought it in 2006.
    The Public Trust has a first mortgage over the site securing up to $5.25m and Dorchester Finance has a second mortgage.
    A QV property hazard report done this month shows the land is in a high-risk zone for land slippage. The steep site drops away to the unformed Glendowie Rd below and to a small beach.
    A set of wooden steps, built by the council to give public access to the beach from nearby Glover Park, has been blocked off after a landslide tore the bottom part of the structure away. Perched above the site is Graeme Hart's pool house complex, the land's only neighbour.
    CB Richard Ellis, the real estate agent marketing the site, has described it as a "diamond in the rough".
    An agent for the company refused to say if Hart had expressed interest in the section.
    Erceg's boat-building business, Sensation Yachts, was put into liquidation in August after an application in the High Court by the Public Trust.
    The company was then put into receivership after Erceg appointed receivers.
    The first liquidator's report indicates the company owes creditors more than $40m.
    The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation has a mortgage securing up to $10.78m over two Henderson properties, the site of Sensation Yachts, owned by Erceg.
    The troubled boat builder, who faces multiple bankruptcy proceedings, is believed to be in the South of France where his head-turning 50m luxury yacht Sensation, which boasts five cabins with en suites, a grand piano and jet skis, is based. Sensation is for sale for $55m and is offered for charter at a starting price of $466,700 a week.
    "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