Two airstrips for sale in Auckland

2:29 PM Monday August 21, 2017 Paul Charman

The hangar at Springhill Farm often doubled as a venue for disco parties. Photo / Supplied

Seldom would anyone dream of purchasing their own airfield, let alone within the heavily regulated and largely built-up Auckland Region.

But Bayleys Real Estate is advertising two such properties . . . both pitched as places an aviation enthusiast can build their own home, close to their own private aircraft hangar.

The properties are:

  • Springhill Farm, State Highway 1, Wellsford, a 363ha sheep and beef farm with private sealed airstrip nearly 1km long, plus a resource consent for 13 new titles. It is being sold by Bayleys agents John Greenwood and John Barnett, though a tender process closing September 8, unless sold earlier.
  • Waiheke Airfield Villa Development, 171 Carsons Rd, Waiheke Island, an 8.9ha property featuring a substantial airstrip in daily use, with consents in place for further development. The Waiheke property is being sold by Bayleys agents Ranjan Unka and Brian Caldwell, through a tender process closing September 14, unless sold earlier.

The Wellsford property was last owned by Kiwi tech millionaire Tony Lentino, who died last year.

He bought it from wealthy industrialist and philanthropist Richard Izard, who shifted from Wellsford to Taupo in the early 2000s, and who had developed both farm and airfield about 10 years earlier.

Both men were avid motoring enthusiasts, and under their successive ownerships, the sealed airstrip was used to speed-test powerful cars.

Both also operated twin-engine aircraft from the airstrip.

After humble beginnings in New Zealand, Lenito took the operations of his firm OnlyDomains globally before selling it to a British firm for $35 million in 2016.

Farm and runway.jpg

About 1km of runway was also used for drag racing cars. Photo / Supplied

He went on to become founder and boss of V8 supercar syndicate Super Black Racing, which had two seasons in the competitive Australasian circuit, before the 42-year old died from a rare form of cancer last year.

Now his former hideaway lifestyle estate features in Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio magazine.

This lists improvements on the property, including the 870m airstrip, capable of landing small propeller-driven commercial aircraft; a converted 342sq m hangar/barn; a 678sq m/three-entrance aeroplane hangar capable of housing at least three aircraft; a two-bedroom cottage; a four-stand woolshed and stock-holding pens.

Richard Izard says the farm had been his hobby, “and, in effect a large lifestyle block”.

“I had a lot of fun developing it and was very pleased when Tony bought it, who intended to keep it going the way I hoped it would be. I was so sad (when he passed away).”

Izard added that it had been extremely difficult to get the airstrip consented by the then Rodney District Council.

“They had no bloody idea — they tried to tell me I was going to have 737s and God knows what landing there . . . I didn’t let go, but it was a hell of a fight, and cost a lot of money.”

Greenwood believes the property and its infrastructure is the only one of its type in the country.

He says, at its heart, Springhill Farm is essentially a sheep block — stocking about 2000 lambs, ewes and rams, including some on grazing contracts.

“The property is immediately adjacent to State Highway 1 beside the Wayby Valley Rd turn-off to Mangawhai. It has council consent for subdivision of 13 additional lifestyle sections, from one to two hectares,” Greenwood says.


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The Waiheke airstrip has consents in place for further development. Photo / Supplied

“The consent allows for the construction of a new right-of-way to service the new sections and for the protection of four environmentally-significant wetland areas.

“It was a dream of Tony’s to create a very laid-back, peaceful enclave of like-minded people, who may have enjoyed his love for not only nature and the countryside, but also flying and partying.

“He was able to fly from the airfield directly to Queenstown in just two hours.”

“For this reason, it’s impossible to put a value on the land and buildings because the property has so many uses . . . from someone wanting their own private runway/drag strip and the man cave of all man caves, through to someone wanting to complete Tony Lentino’s vision.”

Meanwhile, the Waiheke Airfield Resort — also featured in the latest Bayleys Portfolio — seems equally impressive.

“The existing consent (which is valid by extension till 2020) allows for the building of 26 villas, 11 aircraft hangars, a terminal with possibly a cafe/restaurant, owners house and a pool and gym complex.”

Unka says much of the design work has been done to maximise the potential for the development within the stipulations of the granted consent and operational needs of the airfield.

“There is still the potential to adjust the development scope and design. The resource consent infers a ‘lot coverage’, and ‘accommodation type’.

“However, the detail of the design is quite flexible, as long as the basic philosophy of the Resource Consent is followed.

“But any changes would ultimately require building consent and possible validations to be granted by Auckland Council,” Unka points out.