From working in the poorest areas of Calcutta to Assistant Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Auckland and plenty in between, Rob Kilpatrick has covered a lot of ground in his seventy plus years. So, what leads a past Baptist Minister and social justice advocate to step into the role of property developer in Auckland?
Rob’s answer is simple, he wants to contribute to solving Auckland’s housing crisis, and he wants to do it in a way that builds communities. Having spent much of his life working in some of the poorest cities in the world with some of the most disadvantaged groups, he has seen the value of strong communities. He is bringing this lens to his projects.
With plenty of development happening around the city, what makes Rob’s approach different? The location of the developments is perhaps the greatest differentiating factor. “Firstly, I don’t want to build ghettos,” he says. “I’ve seen enough of those and I know how that turns out”. Rob explains that when we keep building further and further from the city, we are using up valuable farmland, and at the same time we’re putting people in cars. When parents spend hours driving to and from work each day, it is time stolen from their families. Rob says he’s looking for rational urban development, and this includes multi-storied builds in areas where people can be close to work, and where public transport is accessible.
To achieve affordable housing for Auckland families, Rob is thinking outside of the box. Using products that allow for multi-storied builds (beyond 2-3 levels) and finding land through less common channels (Rob is in discussion with Church leaders about using church land to provide housing in their communities), he is resourceful to say the least!
Rob’s view is the more money he can save, the more affordable the houses will be, which means more families in homes. He is not looking for personal profit. He says “I have a roof over my head, I’m surrounded by my family and people I love, what more do I need? However, I do care about the wellness of my city and the people in it.”
There are certainly challenges and risks in the property development game though, and Rob Kilpatrick says he has learnt from a few early mistakes, and continues to learn with every project.
Using a non-bank lender has been an important part of his success. “Time is important in the world of development, and working with Vincent Capital has been superb” he says. “With a bank there are so many forms, so many steps and so much waiting in between. But working with the loan managers at Vincent Capital takes all the hassle out of it.”
Rob has found the industry knowledge held by his Loan Manager, Michael Long, to be invaluable. “Michael will look at the property surveyors report, he will drive out to the property, and he’ll make a decision immediately. I had the money in the bank within two to three hours! A bank might have taken weeks. They are incapable of this speed.”
Vincent Capital loaned me the full amount I needed and provided me plenty of time to sell the first unit. This saved me approximately ten percent of the total build cost when compared with the alternative of having to sell them off the plans. The fact that Vincent Capital will work with me in flexible ways means more Auckland families into affordable housing.
Rob is looking forward to seeing his grandchildren grow up in a connected, healthy, community based Tāmaki Makaurau, and is passionate about the part he can play. To find out how we can help you get your project up and running, please get in touch here.