Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Auckland landlord Masfen Group gives tenants rent breaks

A second family business with numerous Auckland properties is helping “hundreds” of tenants after the Friedlanders’ Samson Corporation cut retail and hospitality rents by up to 80 per cent.

Rolf Masfen, of the family-owned investment specialist Masfen Group, said that business was also well aware of the toll Auckland’s lockdown was taking on its “hundreds” of its tenants, shut because of the lockdown.

“Since the beginning of Covid, Masfen Group has done all that it can to assist hundreds of tenants, including substantial rental write-offs,” Masfen said this week.

Parnell, Newmarket, Northcote, Mission Bay and East Tamaki are home to Masfen-owned properties in retail, medical and the commercial sectors.

Properties include Parnell’s St Georges Bay Rd site, where the French markets La Cigale trades, medical specialist properties on Akoranga Dr at Northcote, titles on Highbrook Dr in East Tamaki, and other retail and hospitality real estate.

Parnell Quarter, K’Rd Food Workshop, HighbrookMed and NorthMed are in the portfolio.

Eastridge Shopping Centre at Mission Bay, Newmarket’s Freedom Furniture store and suburban strip tenancies are in the portfolio, established when Rolf Masfen’s father, Peter, became an active investor last century.

The business is leasing the 7sq m Hole in the Wall hospitality property at 16 Durham Lane, a CBD character space which has been a cafe.

Masfen called for swifter pandemic control state action.

“It is imperative that the Government roll out full vaccination with absolute haste and allow business to operate again as soon as is humanly possible.

“A large and meaningful spend on doctors, nurses and medical facilities from the Covid fund must also be a priority. New Zealand cannot afford to be closed for business due to lockdowns any more. Government debt is far too high,” Masfen said.

Last year, Masfen raised alarm about the lockdown then, saying”net earnings are forecast at zero for the next 12 to 24 months as I assist nearly 200 tenants and thousands of their employees and their families to the fullest extent possible. I am forgiving millions and millions of dollars in rent to help the community through this.”

Ardern needed to understand “the immense economic destruction that New Zealand is currently undergoing and urgently”, he said last April.

He then urged the Government to “get as much of the economy going as is humanly possible.

Daniel Freidlander, of the multibillion-dollar Samson Corporation business, said last month that discounts of 80 per cent would be offered to retail and hospitality tenants because they had been shut for so long.

“It’s about doing the right thing. Tenants are beside themselves. They really are and I understand that. This is small New Zealand retail and hospo. We will support them but some hard decisions will be made,” Friedlander said.

Property records show Samson Corporation owns 138 properties in Mt Eden, Ponsonby, Epsom, Grey Lynn, Onehunga, Three Kings, Mt Roskill, Sandringham, Kingsland, Grafton, Penrose, New Lynn, Eden Terrace and Auckland Central.

Friedlander particularly cited the Richmond Rd shops as an area where Samson owns a number of retail and hospitality business premises that have had to remain shut in this lockdown, with no end in sight.

“We’ve made a decision to support our retailers in the same way as we did before,” he said today.

The Samson director and the chief executive of the business has been reluctant to discuss any rent arrangements with tenants, previously saying they were commercially confidential arrangements.

A spokesman for NZX listed landlord Kiwi Property Group said the business was also aware of tenants’ difficulties during Auckland’s lockdown.

“It’s still relatively early in the piece so we’re not in a position to provide much colour around some of your questions, unfortunately. More broadly, we’re focused on supporting our tenants at this challenging time and are committed to sharing a fair proportion of the financial impact caused by Covid-19. Every one of our tenants is different and as we have in the past, we’ll work with them on a case-by-case basis to develop a plan that achieves an equitable outcome,” the Kiwi spokesman said.

Kiwi’s Auckland properties include Sylvia Park, Sylvia Park Lifestyle on the Mount Wellington Highway and LynnMall.

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