Farm mortgagee sale, Kawarau River Station to go under hammer

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A TROPHY freehold farm on Queenstown’s doorstep is up for mortgagee auction.

Kawarau River Station, on the northern face of the iconic Remarkables mountain range, has been on the market since last November and attracted hundreds of enquiries from international and national buyers.

However, no satisfactory offer has been made to owner Steve Laing, Ray White Queenstown agent Bas Smith says.

“Unfortunately time has passed and the owner is now working with his lender and Ray White Queenstown to take this outstanding property to mortgagee auction.”

Smith says two offers, from Christchurch and United States interests, have been received.

Both were under valuation – “but not significantly”.

Smith reveals the property’s been valued at $12.5 million and $16m, the latter reflecting its iconic status.

The first mortgage is held by Heartland Bank and the second mortgage by an Auckland-based private lender.

“They want it sold,” Smith says.

“There’s obviously enough debt there for them to be concerned that the owner hasn’t got the ability to cover it.”

Laing bought the former Cone Peak Station when it was in pastoral lease in 1995.

Four years later, through a tenure review process, he freeholded 1825 hectares and surrendered 1262ha of mountain top to the Crown including parts of The Remarkables Ski Area and Doolan Basin.

The farm, bounded to the north by a 14 kilometre stretch of the Kawarau River, grazes cattle and red deer on 190ha of river terrace and, in the past, merino sheep in the high country.

Laing couldn’t for contacted for comment this week.

His business interests extend to boat-building and hospitality – he’s owned bars in Frankton and Wanaka. His Wanaka Ale House company was placed in receivership last year by the Bank of New Zealand.

Kawarau River Station will be auctioned on July 4 at Ray White Queenstown’s offices at 2pm.

“This property needs to be sold on auction day so we encourage people to enquire early in order to view the property and carry out necessary due diligence so they’re in a position to buy on the day,” Smith says.