The three-storey building described as an “eyesore” will be getting a clean after the Age spoke with the Auckland owner. Photo / David Fisher
Some of the shabbiest buildings on Kaitāia’s main street were spruced up using town funds – and now the council is being asked to bring in a bylaw to force landlords to do better.
a proposal that has won support around the council table, with frustration over out-of-town landlords and the state of their buildings.
One landlord contacted by the Northland Age has now pledged to do whatever the Kaitāia Business Association needs to bring the building up to scratch.
Another building – described as an eyesore – has been traced to an Auckland company director whose companies specialise in property construction, maintenance and renovation.
Kaitāia-based Far North councillor Felicity Foy said it had been a “real struggle” getting some private landlords to embrace the $7 million town centre revitalisation project.
A submission was going to the council to create a bylaw that would set a minimum standard for commercial main street buildings in the Far North District Council territory.
“That puts it back onto private landlords that they do have to maintain their buildings,” Foy said.
She said there was a difficulty around how such a bylaw could be enforced and legal precedent would need to be researched.
“I personally would like to see a town centre bylaw related to the upkeep on main street facades.”
Kaitāia Business Association president Andrea Panther said the organisation had submitted a proposal to the council with the support of the Kaikohe Business Association.
Panther said some of the buildings were in such disrepair that the business association used some of its limited funds “to cover up the areas that were the worst”.
Stand-out buildings identified by the business association that they believed needed maintenance included the building that housed the Kaitāia Food Market dairy and Sushi Avenue.
The shops were tenants in a building owned by a company called 2 PP Limited, owned by Rupesh Parikh and Sujalkumar Patel of Flatbush, Auckland, according to Land Information New Zealand and Companies Office records.
Panther supplied records showing funds for the revitalisation project had been used to paint the upstairs shop front to cover yellow mould.
The Age contacted Parikh, who said $40,000 had been spent on getting the roof replaced at a time when money was “tight”.
“We are doing this gradually,” he said. Other work included washing the building and he had been told by his business partner painting had been done.
Parikh asked that the business association make contact. “I will make sure the building is up to standard. We do want to make changes.”
Another stand-out building was a three-storey yellow building that Panther described as “mouldy and an eyesore from the minute you turn into Commerce St”.
The size and location of the building meant it was visible for hundreds of metres along Commerce Street.
Land Information New Zealand records show the building’s registered owner is Smart Homes NZ Limited, owned by Ario Ariyani of Sunnynook, Auckland.
Companies Office records show Ariyani is also the owner and director of Advance Group Incorporation Limited, which touts itself on the Builders Crack website as a “construction, renovation and maintenance company”.
Arayani said he had hired scaffolding after being contacted by the Age and committed to cleaning the side wall and painting it within a month. It would continue the upgrading of the building that had so far cost $130,000 after buying it in a run-down state, he said.
“Currently, this building is the subject of a meticulous renovation and refurbishment process, reflecting our commitment to restore and rejuvenate this prominent building. It is essential to understand that the building’s present state is a transitional phase in this process,” he said.
He said he expected it would cost another $50,000 to get the inside of the building up to council warrant of fitness standard and he looked forward to it being tenanted and contributing to the town’s growth.
However, he said the cost and the work to get it to that standard had been hampered by vandalism and a recent theft in which about $300 of copper wire had been taken by thieves, who caused about $25,000 damage removing it.
Arayani said he was eager to work with the business association but also hoped it would put energy into improving security in the town centre.
Far North councillor John Vujcich, who holds the Kaikohe-Hokianga ward, said he supported the drive to improve the main streets of towns that had not enjoyed the growth experienced in Kerikeri.
There had been similar difficulties engaging landlords in Kaikohe, he said. “It looks run down and tired. The question is, what do you do?”
Vujcich said it had been difficult to get the town’s larger businesses engaged, which meant it fell to the smaller businesses. Efforts to spruce up the main street in Kaikohe included a team of volunteers who set out to remove graffiti, he said.