Property development
$740 million

The man responsible for blending Britomart’s history into what is now a thriving downtown precinct seems to have vanished from local radar after being made a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit for his efforts last year.

The company he founded here in 1989, Cooper and Company still manages Britomart as well as The Landing development in the Bay of Islands but the California-based businessman this year put his exclusive clifftop mansion in Takapuna on the market. The Pip Cheshire-designed home was once featured in The Architectural Digest. 

Those unable to stump up the $3.6 million price tag to enjoy Mr Cooper’s architectural good taste in Auckland could instead check out the “Cooper Residence” in the Bay of Islands. Featured on the Touch of Spice villas website, it nestles in a wildlife sanctuary between family vineyard and the sea “decorated and detailed to the very finest standards” with tennis court, wine cellar, kayaks, four king suites and a gym. All yours for $7000 a night.

As well as his local developments, Cooper & Company activities include the Southlake Town Square in Texas. With partner Brian Stebbins, Mr Cooper started with 52 hectares of farmland and created a major retail complex now serving more than 2.2 million customers.

Kaitaia-born Mr Cooper, now in his 60s,  got his first taste of the US on a school scholarship and has had a foot in both countries ever since.  A lawyer specialising in commercial and property law, Mr Cooper was formerly executive director of Lion Nathan, chief executive of LD Nathan and joint managing director of Mace Development Corporation.

He and wife Susan live in Newport Beach, Los Angeles.