ASF Consortium has upped the ante in its bid to create a new integrated resort for the Gold Coast after unveiling a $3 billion concept plan that clearly defines The Spit as a the city's new tourism hotspot.
It also proposes a new landmark bridge between Southport and Main Beach giving the city its own answer to Sydney's 'coat hanger' on the harbour.
The consortium, backed by listed investment group ASF Group (ASX:AFA), has released its plans for a 5ha vacant site south of Sea World almost two years after the Palaszczuk Government quashed its proposed $7 billion cruise terminal and resort on Wave Break Island in the Broadwater.
The latest plan resurrects ASF's plans for a second Gold Coast casino, along with three luxury hotels, serviced apartments and a boutique waterfront retail and dining precinct.
While there is no cruise terminal, the development will offer access for commercial vessels and mooring facilities for superyachts.
ASF's answer to the growing traffic problem on The Spit is a new road bridge that resurrects the Gold Coast's original connection between Southport and Main Beach.
The arched bridge will span the Broadwater from the northern end of the existing Sundale Bridge to the west of Southport Yacht Club.
The bridge will be built by the ASF Consortium in what ASF director Louis Chien says will deliver 'legacy infrastructure' to the city and that offers a 'scaleable' solution to traffic problems on The Spit.
The proposed development is expected to attract an extra 1.5 million tourists a year to the Gold Coast.
In September, annual international tourist numbers topped one million for the first time, led by growth from China.
The Chinese-backed ASF Consortium has previously indicated that its new integrated resort project would be a significant drawcard for the inbound tourism market.
"This $3 billion project will deliver a world-class waterfront destination that provides an immediate and ongoing economic boost and significant jobs for the Gold Coast, with benefits flowing across Queensland," says Chien.
"Over 10,000 new jobs will be created during construction and operations, meaning thousands of jobs for the local community.
"With construction likely to occur after the Commonwealth Games, this will deliver ongoing buoyancy to the region, ensuring local jobs are retained.
"The project will also attract a projected 1.5 million additional tourists to the Gold Coast annually. This means growing the existing tourism market with an emphasis on new visitors to the region.
"Our plans deliver a new waterfront precinct to be enjoyed by all by creating new and improved Broadwater leisure and entertainment spaces, a newly accessible water's edge, a new boating destination and a vibrant space for outdoor performances and events."
ASF's proposal remains subject to community consultation and State Government approval.
However, it may also need to await the proposed master plan for The Spit announced by the government and City of Gold Coast in September.
The master plan has been triggered by growing interest in developing The Spit, with Brisbane-based developer Sunland Group (ASX:SDG) triggering passionate debate with its proposed twin tower project, The Mariner, earmarked for the Mariner's Cove site.
Sunland, which has proposed a major new art and culture component for the new residential-hotel development, pulled its application for The Mariner pending the release of the master plan.
The Palaszczuk Government appears to have opened the gate to development on The Spit when it offered the crown site to ASF as an alternative to the cruise terminal.
The Spit has also drawn the interest of existing Gold Coast casino operator Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) which has bought the Sheraton Mirage Resort from MiiGroup for $140 million.
The move is widely seen as a defensive play by Star ahead of any proposed new casino development on The Spit.
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