AQUIS BOOSTS ITS GOLD COAST PORTFOLIO

AQUIS BOOSTS ITS GOLD COAST PORTFOLIO

AQUIS continues to reaffirm its faith in the Gold Coast property market, acquiring another prime development site in Surfers Paradise for $40 million.

Together with CCCC International Holding Limited (CCCI) and Tandellan Group, the consortium purchased a 1.05ha site comprising an entire block bordered by the Gold Coast Highway, Palm Avenue, Cypress Avenue and Surfers Paradise Boulevard.

The site is adjacent to the International Beach Resort on the Esplanade which Aquis Australia owner Tony Fung contracted to acquire last year for $55 million.

Fung says the partners are considering a range of development options for the new site.

"It is the last, large-scale undeveloped site in Surfers Paradise and presents a tremendous opportunity to create something special that will compete for attention on the world stage," says Fung.

"The Gold Coast is experiencing a period of rapid growth that we expect will continue for a number of years due to its mature tourism and hospitality industry and stunning natural beauty."

Fung controls ASX-listed Aquis Entertainment which owns and operates Canberra Casino and is currently progressing plans for a large-scale casino resort project at Yorkeys Knob, north of Cairns.

Other assets on the Gold Coast owned by Fung include a Robina commercial development site ($45 million) which has plans for student accommodation and Patinack Farm ($20.5 million) which the billionaire has indicated will be transformed into a 'mega' tourism development.

Aquis also purchased the Soul penthouse for a reported $7 million, a huge discount to the $16.85 million originally contracted by Charlie Caltabiano in 2006.

However, Aquis walked away from its planned $160 million purchase of the Sheraton Mirage last year in the wake of Ponzi scheme controversy surrounding India-based Pearls Group, which funded the $62 million acquisition of the property in 2009.

Meanhwile, Aquis has given little indication of its plans for its new Surfers Paradise holding.

Its partner CCCI is one of the largest listed companies in Hong Kong and has significant interests in Australia. Last year it acquired construction group John Holland.

Tandellan Group is a Shanghai-based property group with a 20-year history of large-scale developments in China. This is the first time the company has invested in Australia.

Aquis has long held ambitions to develop a new casino on the Gold Coast, and the Sheraton Mirage was considered a prime target for its plans before abandoning the purchase.

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