Multigenerational community living project to be crowdfunded

LONDON: A “pioneering” Lyttelton development will restart crowdfunding later this month after a coronavirus-induced hiatus.

Collett’s Corner will seek public investment from September 23 – two days after opening to current shareholders. The project needs to raise $800,000 to $1.4 million, with shares costing $120 each.

The $14m three-storey, mixed-use development – planned for a 974-square-metre site on the corner of London and Oxford streets – will feature a wellness centre, hospitality outlets and shops on the ground floor, and 20 privately-owned apartments above.

The Ohu Developments project, which will be community-owned, gained resource consent in March. It now hopes to open by June 2023 – about six months later than what was forecast before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Building is expected to start in January 2022.

Apartment pre-sales will also start up again, aided by a national campaign from real estate agents Bayleys. Prices will start at $415,000.

The project hit pause in March due to low market confidence caused by the uncertainties of coronavirus, which would have made fundraising difficult. At the time, those behind the project hoped to restart within three months.

Project steward Camia Young – a founding partner of Ohu Development, which purchased the land for Collett’s Corner in 2013 for $630,000 – said the project was restarting now because people had adjusted to the coronavirus uncertainty.

Watching it pause had been hard, and she was “absolutely elated” it was restarting.

Equity crowdfunding for this type of project was a first in New Zealand and pioneering, she said.

Former city councillor Raf Manji was recently voted in as a director of the project’s board. He is a 7 per cent shareholder and previously loaned the project $100,000 from December 2018 to April 2019.

Young said Manji brought another skill set to the board, especially with his background in finance.

It will be the second round of crowdfunding for Collett’s Corner, after the project raised more than $500,000 in early 2019.

The project’s original design had to go through several changes to gain resource consent, including moving from a timber design to one that uses green-blue metal cladding.

Collett’s Corner unsuccessfully applied for an $800,000 “shovel ready” Government loan earlier this year.