The gutted owner of Queenstown’s most expensive super-home project says he’s taken control of the $10 million job after a local company defaulted on its building contract.
Julian McPike’s Southern Investments Trust owns the partly-built space-age and glass-encased mansion above Glenorchy Road known as Jagged Edge.
McPike says he’s shelled out almost $5m to Queenstown design-build company Jagged Ltd – before they quit the site eight months ago.
“Jagged Ltd effectively stopped work on the project in March 2009 and cited lack of funds as the main reason for the delay in progress,” McPike says in a statement to Mountain Scene.
Jagged Ltd – owned by local engineers Glenn Parker and Warrick Weber – admitted defaulting in September, McPike says.
McPike’s “extremely disappointed” in Jagged Ltd but points the finger at its main subcontractor Slant Build – a separate company wholly owned by Parker.
McPike claims Jagged Ltd passed on more than $4m “in cash” to Slant.
“I paid my money over, which I earn, in good faith, and it wasn’t paid to the people doing the work – that’s what I’m very disappointed about,” he tells Mountain Scene.
“I was paying without delay and the subbies [hired by Slant] weren’t on-paid.
“There are several outstanding creditors of Slant Build Ltd in Queenstown who it seems are unlikely to be paid by Slant Build Ltd for works that [Southern Investments Trust] has already paid for,” McPike claims.
Mountain Scene understands several hundred thousand dollars may be involved.
“It really does annoy me that there are [unpaid] creditors out there,” McPike says.
He’s now pumping in more money to complete his dream-home and will offer out-of-pocket subbies as much work as he can.
McPike had accountants in to audit his job but won’t take legal action, he says.
“There’s bugger-all I can do about it,” he says, pointing out his contract is with Jagged Ltd, not Slant Build.
McPike, down from Wellington to resurrect the project begun in December 2007, hopes his luxury holiday home will be finished by Christmas 2010.
Parker couldn’t be contacted – Mountain Scene understands he left Queenstown for overseas a month ago.
But Weber, speaking from Dubai, confirms Jagged Ltd paid more than $4m to Slant Build before Jagged had to default on its contract with McPike.
Weber says he and Parker are winding up their business relationship.
Parker’s now in Abu Dhabi, Weber understands, but he won’t be trying to find him.
Parker was responsible for the commercial affairs of their joint venture Jagged Ltd, Weber says.
“We’re extremely upset and disappointed at where this has come to,” he says, adding he put a lot of trust in Parker – “100 per cent trust” on the business side.
“We’ve worked very hard to make the project a success and believed that Slant Build was running the project accordingly.”
Asked what he thinks has happened, Weber replies: “I just think that maybe he’s run the business poorly.
“I don’t think he’s put it in his back pocket and run away – I don’t know.”
His firm Weber Consulting Ltd – owned by himself and wife Heather – is probably Slant’s biggest creditor, Weber suggests.
Are you owed hundreds of thousands of dollars? “Getting up to that. It’s just like a nightmare.”
Weber’s still working with McPike to complete the $10m super-home.
“We’ll build it – it will be a great project,”
Almost ruined me – subbie
The troubled Jagged Edge super-home project has had a “catastrophic effect” on at least one out-of-pocket Queenstown subcontractor.
Queenstown Glass director and shareholder Jason Dent claims his company is owed $53,000 by main contractor Slant Build.
“It just about ruined us,” Dent says.
“We’re only a little business and we went into that with eyes wide open and confident that everything would be OK because of the end user [being wealthy].”
Employed to design and install an audacious $200,000 glass façade, Dent’s company was paid $80,000 for its first few months of work before payments ceased in January.
“By the first week of March when it still hadn’t been paid I started scratching my head. I said ‘I need to pull the pin here’.
“The communication ceased and Parker went off the map.
“He’s an absolute shonk. He was trying to be a property developer with negative funds and [was] using all his creditors as cashflow,” Dent alleges.
Queenstown Glass holds intellectual property rights to digital data used for glass installation at Jagged Edge, Dent says, adding a further $70,000 worth of work won’t be done till outstanding debts are paid.
Meantime, Dent’s had to find work in Auckland.
Allied Queenstown Concrete boss Shane Tell confirms his company’s owed money for pouring more than 200cu m of concrete for the roof in February – but he won’t say how much. The debt is in the hands of his lawyers.
“We’ve been paid over half of what we were owed and we worked through a payment plan to recover the rest. We received the first two payments but it’s dried up since then,” Tell says.
“I understand it’s somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000 that’s owed all up [to creditors].
“It would be good if it does get finished and everyone gets paid but I can’t see that happening, actually.”
United Scaffolding owner Bill Labes says his company’s not owed anything.
“We’re all back working on that site and it’s all good. We don’t have any great problems at the moment.”
Once were partners – but not anymore
The two Queenstown engineers who have split up after falling out over the Jagged Edge super-home project worked together for several years.
Warrick Weber and Glenn Parker are best known for their Smartpod modular design housing, an example of which they’ve built at Arthurs Point.
Structural engineer Weber has also designed several futuristic houses like Jagged Edge, marketing them via the internet to rich foreign clients.
According to the project website, Weber has worked on a number of international construction projects.
Parker, who also owns a project management company, formerly managed Queenstown Lakes District Council engineering contractor Imtech.
A civil engineer, he’s worked on a number of projects including the Clyde Dam and Wellington’s Te Papa museum.
In the Otago Daily Times last year, Weber and Parker said the fact they had in-house design, engineering and project management expertise meant they were better placed than other professionals who promised a lot then failed to deliver when the funds ran out.