Hoping to help solve the significant shortage of tourism accommodation in Noosa, GH Properties group has submitted plans for a five-star resort on the grounds of the existing Noosa Springs Golf and Spa Resort.
The Noosa Shire Council is considering plans for the proposed 106-suite boutique hotel, spanning five low-rise buildings and featuring two lagoon-style swimming pools - the first luxury development of scale since the Sofitel, formerly a Sheraton, was built in Hastings Street in 1989.
The project, expected to cost at least $50 million and create 360 jobs, does infringe substantially on private land, which is currently zoned as recreation and open space.
Project manager Phil Starkey, whose family helped build and develop Noosa Springs, says the buildings won’t protrude over the existing tree line and plans to rebuild and refurbish the existing tennis courts, which will be removed as part of the new build.
“The proposal represents a significant tourist accommodation opportunity that will provide enormous community benefit,” Starkey said.
“It will augment the existing accommodation market and assist in growing local tourism.”
Consisting of 98 standard rooms, six luxury suites, and two presidential suites, the expectation is the new building will complement, rather than replace, the Noosa Springs Golf & Spa Resort – which is also owned by GH Properties group since 2014.
An economic impact assessment found there are 3,821 rooms across 158 properties in the Noosa region, but serviced apartments dominate the market with a chronic lack of full-service hotel accommodation.
“Our region is missing out on high-spending tourists because of the shortage in this type of accommodation,” Starkey commented.
“There are very few sites in the Noosa area earmarked for visitor accommodation. Indeed, there is only one other in the Noosa Heads area – a site within Settlers Cove – but it does not enjoy the existing facilities and infrastructure offered by Noosa Springs Golf and Spa Resort. And there aren’t a lot of developers approaching Noosa Council with plans to build such a hotel.” He added.
Local concerns around parking and increased traffic have been considered, with traffic studies suggesting there will be no adverse impact on the traffic network. Engineers advise that no works to the external road network are required.
The hotel says it will implement a parking management plan on busy days, which will result in staff utilising an overflow parking area.
Starkey doesn’t foresee an issue when addressing golf members' concerns about the plan potentially impacting their ability to play on the championship golf course.
“Research shows that between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of guests will come to play golf so, at typical occupancy rates, an extra 16 to 32 guests on average will be looking to play each day,” he said.
“That can easily be managed on most days. Noosa Springs’ members will always have special rights and privileges to the golf course and have an opportunity to book tee times well in advance.
“We value our resort members and will do nothing to disadvantage their benefits. If it becomes necessary, visitors will be restricted to ensure members enjoy their playing privileges.”
About 19 koala trees will need to be removed to house the new tennis courts, but the property developers hope to offset this loss.
Starkey believes the proposed development is likely to attract high-spending visitors, and the hotel will add to the reputation of Noosa as a premier tourism region, so he doesn’t think the property will damage the existing value of local properties.
The proposal follows the Brisbane Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month to rule in favour of a community-funded legal challenge against the Sunshine State Council’s decision to grant permission to a five-star resort and housing project at Yaroomba beach.
The Yaroomba Beach development proposal, proposals which included a seven-storey hotel and 753 residential apartments, was approved by the Sunshine Coast Council in June 2018 but attracted 9,288 dissenting submissions.
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