Polytech sugar daddy a Big Apple greenie

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Otago Polytechnic is waxing lyrical about its tie-up with a wealthy New York real estate syndicator and his big Dalefield property buy.

Anthony Malkin recently obtained Overseas Investment Office approval for his $4.5 million purchase of 50ha on Littles Road from prominent local developer David Broomfield.

Malkin’s link with the polytech is cited by the OIO as the “rationale for the investment”.

Polytech boss Phil Ker enthusiastically fleshes out details.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity with potentially good benefits for everyone – the polytech, the benefactor and for future learners.”

Malkin is certainly a benefactor.

He made contact early this year, says Ker, and gave the polytech a fat donation for development of a sustainability-education curriculum.

“[The donation is] substantial … there are five noughts on it,” says Ker.

Malkin and wife Shelly “are passionate about the environment”, he says, and hooked up with the polytech because of its “leadership role in education for sustainability” – which Ker maintains is probably “up the front of the pack” in New Zealand and Australia.

The deal will see the polytech advise Malkin on planning and building an environmentally sustainable home – six bedrooms, says another source – plus ancillary features.

“His intention is to develop his property as a best-practice sustainability site,” says Ker.

The Dalefield land “will be an outdoor classroom” for polytech students studying environmentally sustainable development.

Ker: “It’s a real win-win from our perspective.”

Other than the home itself, the polytech doesn’t know what other sustainability projects Malkin has in mind. “We haven’t got that far down the track and it depends on final land use [consents].”

However, the polytech would be keen on sustainable-energy and water-use projects, Ker says.

Malkin will visit NZ early next year.

It’s thought the Dalefield estate will be a part-time retreat for the big-league New York couple.

According to the United States National Real Estate Investor, Malkin’s grandfather “pioneered real estate syndication in the US back in 1934”.

Since 1989, Malkin’s family firm Wien & Malkin and its associate W&M Properties has structured half a billion dollars worth of real estate acquisitions, the publication says.

In 2003, according to National Real Estate Investor, the firms controlled 7.4-million square feet (685,000sq m) of Manhattan skyscrapers – although on Wien & Malkin’s website this week, Malkin himself says “we have [now] sold all our interests in Class-A Manhattan office towers”.

The New Yorker appears to walk the talk on environmental sustainability – his property company early this month converted its 27-vehicle fleet to hybrid models.