The homes are raised on wooden pallets and sitting in a state of disrepair. Photo / Michael Craig
Max Key’s property development company has been accused of “bringing down the character” of a leafy suburban street in inner Auckland by turning a block of land into an “eyesore”.
A collection of St Michaels Ave residents in Point Chevalier say the son of former prime minister Sir John Key moved three rundown bungalows from elsewhere in the city and left them on a section of land in their street.
The bungalows have sat virtually untouched for more than one year since then.
A spokesman for Key’s company MTK Capital apologised and said he understood neighbours’ frustrations at delays largely caused by Covid.
Sitting on raised wooden pallets, the homes have smashed glass panels, swathes of missing roofs and are in a general state of disrepair with windows and doors blowing open.
“Everyone in the street is pretty proud of their properties and what we’ve achieved,” one nearby neighbour told the Herald.
“But he’s gone and left this eyesore in our street.”
The residents said they want Key to start work soon on developing the land, which sits close to some multi-million dollar homes with sea views.
MTK Capital owns the land, having paid just over $3 million for it in 2020.
A spokesman said there were measures beyond the company’s control.
“We apologise for the delays and appreciate the frustration.
“The original plan was for three houses on the site – they were consented and moved onto the site in August 2021.
“Then Covid slowed the process down and by the latter part of the year it became clear to us that three properties was too many for the site.”
The spokesman said MTK Capital then applied in early 2022 to change the development to “two high-quality homes”.
He said they were still awaiting council sign-off but understood it was not far away.
“They will be four-bedroom homes with swimming pools with a value of around $4m, which is more in keeping with the site,” he said.
Residents said Key closed off the street one early morning to transport the homes onto the site.
However, one of the homes was later dismantled by a work crew with much of it being thrown into a skip bin, according to one neighbour who spoke with the Herald.
The neighbour said that had resulted not only in an ugly and potentially hazardous site but also a noisy one on occasion.
“At night when the winds picks up – and it does straight off the Waitematā (Harbour) – you can hear it when it gets under those tarps,” he said.
Another resident walking past the site told the Herald the site was “disgusting” and “bringing the character of the street down”.
Others on the street also described it as an “eyesore” and “annoying”, while some said they were more concerned by the uncertainty of what was going to be done with the site.
“I just hope it isn’t turned into multi-storey apartments,” one said.
However, one nearby neighbour told the Herald, the site didn’t bother him and Key was allowed to do what he wanted with his own land.
Key has in recent years made his first moves into property development.
That includes him buying a Mount Albert home in inner Auckland with the help of the Bank of Mum and Dad in July 2020 to revealing he sold his first property development in Glen Innes in the city’s east last December.
Last week he sold another development in Birkenhead on the North Shore after earlier this year joining with his dad Sir John and Michael and John Chow to become part of Stonewood Key Capital.
Stonewood Key Capital aims to raise $100 million within 18 months for a business that hopes to build 500 houses a year.
The Chows are well-known businessmen who – together with corporate finance specialist Clint Webber – bought Stonewood Homes when it was in financial trouble in 2016.
Under their control, Stonewood went on to become one of the top 10 busiest builders last year as is part of what the Herald called a reinvention for the brothers after they spent 20 years in the sex industry, including running strip clubs and brothels.
As part of his collaboration with the brothers, Max Key last week unveiled the first completed development by Stonewood Key in Birkenhead.
The developers built eight townhouses on the site with one of them set to go to auction on October 20, unless it’s sold earlier.
The 116sq m townhouse at 10B Huka Rd has four bedrooms and two baths and an open-plan living area.
But Key’s recent social media posts promoting his finished projects bothered the neighbour, who told the Herald the Point Chevalier site was an eyesore.
“If we saw him doing a little bit and chipping away here and there, we’d go fair enough,” he said.
“[But] it’s dragging on and nothing has been done.”