LAWRENCE SMITH / Stuff
A neighbor inspects a decaying building on a site on Saint Michaels Avenue in Point Chevalier, Auckland owned by MTK Capital, the property development company of Max Key, son of former Prime Minister John Key.
Residents of an affluent Auckland street are furious with the Max Key property development company over delays to a housing project that left them staring at old wooden bungalows sitting on wooden pallets.
The buildings were moved to the St Michaels Avenue site at Point Chevalier in Auckland, but development work came to nothing in a year, according to locals.
Over the winter, one of the buildings, shading a nearby garden, had developed a blanket of mold.
Key’s company, MTK Capital, told NZME it apologized for the delays and understood residents’ frustration.
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NZME quoted an unnamed MTK Capital spokesperson as saying the buildings were moved to the site in August 2021, but the Covid pandemic has slowed development.
He said MTK’s plan was for three four-bedroom houses with swimming pools on the site, which matched the area.
Neighbors said Key had been pleasant at the start of the project and had come to tell them properties would be placed on the site.
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Since then they had been unable to get in touch with him, they said, even to report that someone had smashed a window on one of the chalets.
The site was an eyesore with piles of building materials, a dumpster and portaloo, and uncut grass. Tarps draped over one of the buildings flapped loudly when the wind blew, a neighbor said.
To the front of the property are signs displaying the MTK Capital signs.
Point Chevalier is a highly sought-after beachside suburb nine kilometers west of Auckland’s CBD.
Recent single-detached home sales in the area included four-bedroom homes selling for more than $2 million.
MTK Capital was striving to become a major home builder.
In February, Key announced that the company had formed a partnership with the Chow Brothers’ Stonewood Group.
Stonewood Group owns group home builder Stonewood Homes, infrastructure services company RCR and $500 million in assets focused on hotels and commercial properties.
The joint venture with the Keys would be known as Stonewood Key Capital and would focus on raising capital from wholesale investors, with the goal of reaching $100 million within 18 months.
Its aim was to fund the development of up to 500 new homes each year across the country.