Blog readers will recall earlier posts on the land down by the old railway station and around where Vector Arena sits. This was purchased by Ngati Whatua over fifteen years ago and leased to various property development interests with a FIFTEEN YEAR rent free period.
Basically, the occupiers have grown quite used to this rent free business and seem to have priced their units and sub-leases as if it didn’t exist and wasn’t coming to an end. Now that it has, in perfectly predictable fashion, Ngati Whatua would very kindly like some rent, thanks very much.
Cue also perfectly predictable outrage at the perfidious landlord actually wanting a return after a miserable fifteen years.
New Zealanders have never quite gotten their heads around leasehold land and always seem to regard the owner of the freehold as nothing but a leech on their “ownership”…..but I digress.
The NZ Herald this morning had a continuation piece as the test case arbitrations continue. It seems that a number of tenants and body corporates (outside of those directly involved) are contributing to costs, as the big legal and valuation guns are all in evidence, as is the arbitrator Rob Fisher himself, a retired (but still relatively young) top calibre High Court judge.
One interesting element was arguments that years of railway use and resulting contamination, and the railway tunnel, degrade the value of the land.
Negative effects of traffic nuisance from a network of main arterial roading routes near the apartments and townhouses was (sic) also argued by the apartment and townhouse owners.
From where I’m sitting, the degrading value of contamination to an apartment building plonked on a massive and all-covering concrete slab seems non-existent, but arguments about the railway in terms of vibration and noise might have some traction. The idea that living near main arterial routes harms residential city-dwellers more than it benefits (in terms of access to road and motorways for residents) is a fairly balanced one and it would surprise if the decision made more than a cursory nod to reductions for such elements.
The results of this arbitration obviously have huge implications for the rest of the owners and tenants on the Railway land, and will be of considerable interest to valuers and lawyers, given the calibre of the arbitrator.