Mayor scut­tles prop­erty busi­ness com­pany

Cambridge Edition - - OUT & ABOUT - LIBBY WIL­SON

Plans to re­vive Hamil­ton City Coun­cil’s prop­erty de­vel­op­ment com­pany have been scut­tled.

Hamil­ton Prop­er­ties Lim­ited be­gan in 1989 and de­vel­oped cen­tral city sites in­clud­ing the BNZ build­ing and Novo­tel Hamil­ton Tainui, be­fore it was shut down in 1998.

Moves to re­in­state it have now been over­turned af­ter a bid from Mayor An­drew King.

He’d tried and failed in March, but he won the nec­es­sary sup­port at Thurs­day’s coun­cil meet­ing.

King ques­tioned whether coun­cil should bor­row money to buy prop­er­ties then flick them off again in an at­tempt to build up coun­cil’s wealth.

‘‘We’re aim­ing to make a 7 per cent re­turn where, at the mo­ment, by hav­ing debt paid down we’re get­ting a 5.5 per cent re­turn.’’

The pre­vi­ous coun­cil had voted to trans­fer as­sets of the city’s Mu­nic­i­pal and Do­main En­dow­ment Funds - worth about $52 mil­lion - to the prop­erty com­pany.

With­out Hamil­ton Prop­er­ties, the city would still have money in the en­dow­ment funds for projects to lift the city, King said.

An amend­ment that would have kept Hamil­ton Prop­erty in process was lost 4-7, and councillors then voted 8-3 to stop Hamil­ton Prop­er­ties go­ing ahead.

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