History  ›  Title acquisition

Title acquisition

Initial application and Urban Development Lease

Over the years, a number of applications were made to the Department of Environment and Conservation to develop Paga Hill, none of which were successful. In early 1996, seeing incredible potential for the site, PHDC CEO Gudmundur Fridriksson and his wife Tau, who is from the nearby village of Tubusereia, filed paid applications to relevant authorities with a view to acquire the land, as well as identify suitable joint venture partners to develop the site. Soon after, international property services group Jones Lang Wootton (JLW) were engaged to coordinate the required work, including master plan design, engagement with relevant government authorities, as well as identification of suitable joint venture partners.

A comprehensive proposal to rezone the land was submitted to the Physical Planning Board towards the end of 1996. Whilst generally supportive, the Board directed that various stakeholders be consulted, including the Department of Lands, National Capital District Commission (NCDC), PNG Harbours Board, Department of Environment and Conservation, Department of Transport and Works, Eda Ranu (water authority), as well as the Motu Koitabu Council.

Paga Hill Land Holding Company (PHLHC) was established for securing the title, and over time, the support of all stakeholders would be secured, subject to various conditions being addressed as part of the development.

In mid-1997, and despite an exemption from tender, the Land Board considered four applications to acquire Paga Hill, eventually ruling in PHLHC’s favour. Following the defeat of multiple appeals to the decision, PHLHC would finally secure its 5 Year Urban Development Lease (UDL) in April 1998.

99 Year Lease

The UDL came with a range of requirements on the part of the developer PHLHC, , including approvals required from various government departments and agencies. The city authority, NCDC, would file a judicial review in the PNG court, but was unsuccessful in its attempt to question the validity of the UDL, with the case discontinued in late 1998. Having complied with the UDL requirements, as well as sustained a judicial review, PHLHC was awarded a 99 Year Lease in September 2000. To signify the change in focus, this would be accepted under a new company name, Paga Hill Development Company (PNG) Limited (PHDC).


Scroll down for key events in the site’s history and transformation into Paga Hill Estate.

March 1941

Australian forces arrive in Port Moresby

Recognising the site's strategic value overlooking the harbour, Australian forces would install artillery batteries on Paga Hill and would be decommissioned in 1946


January 1960

Settlement begins at Paga Hill

Informal settlement at Paga Hill begins in the 1960s with night soil workers setting up camp to guard equipment on site. Joining them over time would be extended family, as well as other downtown workers


January 1987

Declaration of Paga Hill as a Public Reserve

Recognising its WWII remnants and scenic outlook, Paga Hill is declared a public reserve by the Lands Ministry, appointing trustees of the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) and the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) to manage the site


May 1995

First application with Lands Dept to rezone Paga Hill

Tau Asigau Fridriksson, wife of PHDC founder Gudmundur Fridriksson, files application with Lands Department to rezone Paga Hill

June 1996

'Paga Hill Land Holding Company' incorporated

December 1996

Jones Lang Wootten engaged as project managers

Jones Lang Wootten International Property Group engaged to project manage acquisition of Paga Hill and development of Paga Hill Estate's master plan

December 1997

Eda Ranu (water authority) approval

Eda Ranu endorses plans for water supply and sewerage infrastructure at Paga Hill Estate

December 1997

5 year Urban Development Lease

The Land Board awards Paga Hill Land Holding Company (PHLC) a 5 Year Urban Development Lease over Paga Hill, PHLC being one of four applicants for the land


April 2000

Physical Planning Board zoning approval

NCDC Physical Planning Board zoning approval for change from open space, to residential and commercial

September 2000

99 Year Lease

Having complied with relevant 5 Year UDL conditions, Paga Hill Land Holding Company is awarded a 99 Year Lease over Paga Hill. In marking the transition from land holding to development, the company is renamed Paga Hill Development Company (PHDC)


October 2012

PNG Government declares Paga Hill Estate a ‘Project of National Significance’ once again

The Papua New Guinea Government's National Executive Council declares Paga Hill Estate a 'Project of National Significance', considering its far reaching potential, including tourism, job creation, housing affordability and nation-building

October 2014

Settlement relocation receives United Nations acclaim

Mr Roy Trivedy, United Nations Resident Coordinator in PNG commends PHDC for the landmark relocation in his speech at the site's official handover ceremony

December 2014

Civil works and land reclamation commences at Paga Hill

Civil works commence, using fill to reclaim sea lease about Paga Hill's shoreline. Ring road construction also commences, using part of the reclaimed land area

June 2016

Paga Hill Ring Road completed


March 2020

Paga Hill Estate declared a 'Tourism Special Economic Zone'

Recognising the enormous potential for PNG's tourism industry, economic diversification and nation-building, Paga Hill Estate is granted a suite of financial incentives to attract investment and fast-track its realisation