Chris Cook tells worried investors stalled project is all fine

The proposed Albany Heights development site

Asian investors in an intensive housing development on Auckland's North Shore say they have no idea what is going on, but owner Chris Cook says everything is on track.

Following yesterday's story outlining investors' concerns about the lack of progress on the Albany Heights Villas project, Mr Cook contacted NBR ONLINE to explain the lack of communication.

"We sent out a project update to our clients when we refinanced [in July] and stated the next one would be once construction is started, although another update did go out a few days ago.

"The project is due to start in the next month to six weeks," Mr Cook said in an emailed statement.

"We are extremely excited to be finally in a position to start building, and although the project has been delayed and had setbacks earlier this year the majority of investors have been supportive, with only a few grumblings.

"Now that the project is funded any doubts should be gone."

The Albany Heights Villas development was in serious trouble in June when Adrian Burr and Martin Reesby's Spinnaker Capital called in its mortgage and instigated a mortgagee tender to recover its funds.

NBR Rich Lister John Copson's Crown Money refinanced the loan at the last minute.

Crown Finance managing director Chris Arbuckle told NBR ONLINE he could not comment because of client confidentiality, but says he is happy with the situation.

"As far as I'm aware, everything's progressing well."

However, more Asian investors contacted NBR ONLINE overnight to say they have not been updated on the project for some time.

One investor says: "We are looking for Chris Cook and there are lots of queries we want to clarify."

Another, from Singapore, says he bought an option for a unit in November 2010 and "had last heard from the developer on December 11, 2011".

An Auckland-based investor also contacted NBR ONLINE with concerns about stage two of the development, saying: "It is concerning to know that we are not the only ones."

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9 Comments & Questions

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Well done Cook for fronting up to the investors. Good luck with the project.

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And good luck to the investors and creditors. They'll need it!

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Chris Cook said that he is going to set up a Trust account to protect the investors' money. That's Good ! If the account really has the money!

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All the investors asking for is transparency. Cook has collected a few million dollars from the investors. His project management firm was iliquidated in May, now Cook has no staff, no office, his webiste is down, his replies have been on & off, and he was for the past three weeks until this article appeared uncontactable....is this morally correct? Sorry, it's not about fronting up. No one wants to make enemy with Cook or anybody. NZ is (presumably) a civilised society & we just want people to behave in a civilised manner. The FACT is that many investors' payments are already due but the project has not even started.

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Hope that Chris will keep to his words.... These are investors' hard-earned monies. :(

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He should just tell the investors when the project is planning to complete. It has been delayed for 2 years already. Is he going to take another 2 years ?

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He should update the investors regularly rather than avoiding them and not answering the phones or replying to emails.

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We will give Chris the support as long as he has a concrete plan to resolve the financial challenges and communicate that to the investors clearly. We all want the project to be successful.

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Yes, the lack of CLEAR communications is the main issue now. Chris has been giving out lots of conflicting signals. Please do not tell investors that work will start on which date unless you are really confident that work can start on that date.

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