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.