Hole buyer has a super backer

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A Woolworths supermarket may once again rise up from Frankton’s Five Mile development now that “Hendo’s Hole” has been on-sold by receivers.

According to the Sunday Star-Times, Hole buyer Tony Gapes of Auckland is being backed by a company called General Distributors, a subsidiary of none other than Progressive Enterprises.

Progressive owns the Woolworths chain, along with the Foodtown, Countdown and Fresh Choice supermarket brands.

Companies Office documents reportedly show the Gapes entity Queenstown Gateway, which bought the 7.8-hectare stage one slice of Frankton’s failed Five Mile, is indebted to General Distributors and pledges “all present and after acquired personal property” as collateral.

Most of Five Mile’s stage one has been excavated for an 800-space carpark – hence the Hendo’s Hole tag.
It’s all rather déjà vu for Progressive, who were announced as anchor tenant back in August 2007 by original Five Mile developer Dave Henderson.

Henderson spoke then of a 4500 square metre Woolworths supermarket to go head-to-head with a new Pak’n Save to be opened by rival Foodstuffs at nearby Remarkables Park.

Foodstuffs also have Remarkables Park’s thriving New World supermarket which opened in 1999, the same year as Progressive opened its Fresh Choice in Gorge Road.

Woolworths and Pak’n Save are deep-discount brands.

It’s not known how much developer Gapes paid Five Mile receivers for Hendo’s Hole.

Five Mile went into receivership in mid-2008 after Henderson’s development company fell behind on servicing its $80 million debt.

Hanover Finance, now itself clinging to life under a debt moratorium, was the major lender to Five Mile.