Lion Nathan grabs back Newmarket site

Liquor giant Lion Nathan has reclaimed the Newmarket site it sold in 2007 to Great Northern Developments, subsidiary of a joint venture between AMP Capital NZ Property Fund and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.The brewery had operated from the Khyber Pass site since 1860 but put it on the market when it planned to move to a new East Tamaki brewery it recently finished building. The sale of the 5.2ha of prime real estate for $162 million was agreed before the global financial crisis crunched credit and investors' appetite for risk evaporated.

Liquor giant Lion Nathan has reclaimed the Newmarket site it sold in 2007 to Great Northern Developments, subsidiary of a joint venture between AMP Capital NZ Property Fund and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

The brewery had operated from the Khyber Pass site since 1860 but put it on the market when it planned to move to a new East Tamaki brewery it recently finished building.

The sale of the 5.2ha of prime real estate for $162 million was agreed before the global financial crisis crunched credit and investors' appetite for risk evaporated.

The joint venture put down a $50 million deposit with the balance to be paid when Lion moved out this year. A $122 million vendor mortgage was due on Monday.

AMP Capital Investors wrote down its investment in the project to zero in March this year to reflect the possibility that no further investment in Great Northern would be forthcoming.

AMP Capital  Investors said there would be no further impact on its investors.

Japanese-owned Lion Nathan will become the new owner of Great Northern Developments which was set up to own and develop the high profile site.

AMP Capital Investors said in February that it was only months away from applying for resource consent for its plans to redevelop the Khyber Pass Newmarket site into a mixed use complex.

The brewery was to be torn down and in its place a retirement village, apartments, car parking, retail, restaurants and bars to be built.

“We are delighted with this outcome,” Lion Nathan National Foods chief financial officer and newly appointed Great Northern Developments director Jamie Tomlinson said.

“This is a good outcome for all parties, avoiding the possibility of an extended period of uncertainty. Great Northern Developments will now review its plans for the future development of the site.”

NBR understands it wants to redevelop the site in the mixed use manner that had been previously planned.