A third wealthy Auckland family with a multi-million dollar property portfolio is helping its food and hospitality tenants with rents – by suspending all payments.

Fortunate tenants who signed leases with the business have paid no rent since the start ofthe latest lockdown before midnight on August 17.

The Friedlander family’s Samson Corporation and the Masfen’s Masfen Group was reported in the past fortnight as supporting their tenants, the Friedlanders cutting hospitality and retail rents by up to 80 per cent.

Now, a spokesperson for the Smale family’s North Shore 10.8ha office park with upmarket restaurants and an outdoor dining precinct says it is charging many tenants no rent.

“Smales Farm has provided 100 per cent rent relief to its hospitality and retail tenants for alert level 4 lockdown,” the spokesperson said today.

One relieved tenant with a number of nationally branded Auckland food outlets said the Smales were the single most generous in his experience.

“It’s the families like these ones who do the best by us. The big listed corporates – they’re responsible to their shareholders and that’s who they think of rather than us,” he said.

“We’ve been shut for weeks now at Smales Farm, unable to sell anything,” he said.

Food retailers could not afford to pay the rent when they couldn’t make a cent, he said.

In 2018, Smales Farm opened Goodside indoor/outdoor dining precinct.

Businesses in The Goodside when it opened in 2018 were:

• Bagel-centric cafe Goodness Gracious, opening its third outlet;
• Ripe Deli from Grey Lynn’s Richmond Rd, selling salads, coffee, baking and other offerings;
• &Sushi’s first store north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge;
• Fantail & Turtle Bar and Eatery, selling 30 craft beers and with an on-site brewery;
• European-style restaurant The Grange;
• Asian fusion restaurant Soho, with Thai-style offerings;
• Shake Out, a new burger brand;
• A monthly special pop-up store.

The boutique hospitality operators have been trading the past three years in landscaped areas with outdoor dining in the hospitality precinct designed by Izzard Design.

Major tenants include Air NZ, AIA, Vodafone, ASB Bank and dozens of smaller businesses in purpose-built shared office space The B:Hive office block.

The Smales Farm spokesperson said rent was also suspended in last year’s level 4 alert in Auckland.

The park has been a big commercial success. Last decade, Vodafone moved to the park from the CBD. Sovereign House and The B:Hive have won major architectural awards.

“Before the turn of the century, the over 10ha piece of land was just a boring old cattle farm next to the highway,” the business says.

“Over the next 10 years, various high-end offices and the Northern Express busway station cropped up on the land.”

Smales Farm’s board is Greg, Chris and Bill Smale with Kerry Hitchcock.

The business plans a further big expansion, building high-rise apartments on greenfield sites at the park, now used for outdoor car parking.

“The next phase of development continues towards a target of more than 160,000sq m of commercial space and an onsite community of 14,000 people,” the business says.

A $1 billion scheme to build 1400 apartments in eight tower blocks up to 30 levels high is planned.

But business, schools and residents have lodged strongly worded opposing submissions, fearing traffic effects, loss of privacy, noise and other negative effects.

The scheme on part of the 10.8ha site is to be a “transit-oriented development”, leveraging the location beside the Northern Busway terminal alongside the motorway.

The site is an eight-minute journey from the CBD so high-density on a high-frequency public transport station is planned.

NZ Transport Agency supports the development scheme, its consents and approvals principal planner Mike Wood saying two years ago it “provides an opportunity to demonstrate in the Auckland context how high-density mixed-use living options can occur in close proximity to local amenities and high-frequency accessible public transport”.

NZTA backs cutting private car ownership, encourages walking and biking and supports transit-orientated developments, Wood said.

Smales Farm wants its greenfields site rezoned from the current business park to mixed-use because residential development there is non-complying. Current height controls are also are set at five to six levels.

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