Chinese developer White Horse looking to sell Lindeman Island after a decade adrift

Chinese developer White Horse looking to sell Lindeman Island after a decade adrift

After languishing for a decade in the hands of Chinese developer White Horse Australia, Lindeman Island has been placed on the market in a bid to capitalise on the flurry of interest in North Queensland’s iconic tropical resorts among Australia’s rich listers.

Lindeman Island, once the home of Club Med, has been placed on the market via an international expressions of interest campaign after years of indecision over the resort’s future following its closure in 2012.

White Horse has long touted a $580 million master plan to revitalise the resort, with construction originally planned to start as far back as 2017.

Despite the support of the Queensland Government, which gave the redevelopment special project status, the master plan has been in limbo ever since.

White Horse acquired Lindeman Island in 2012, just months after the resort was closed down by Club Med which said at the time that the property was suffering from a post-GFC tourism downturn and the fallout from Cyclone Yasi.

The master plan for the property’s revival included a range of new four to six-star accommodation comprising a mix of 325 suites, villas and apartments, as well as an ecotourism education centre, restaurants, bars, beach club, night club, conference centre, a retail precinct, and a sports and recreation centre.

White Horse paid $12 million for Lindeman Island and market sources now say it could fetch around $20 million.

“It is with regret that after 10 years of ownership, White Horse has made the decision to divest Lindeman Island, despite having successfully completed the environmental impact statement component of the redevelopment,” says Michael Dawn, the Australian spokesman for White Horse.

“White Horse hopes that the new owner continues with its vision to redevelop this once great island resort and restore it to its former glory.”

A revival of interest in Queensland’s tropical north was triggered last year by rich-lister Gina Rinehart who raised hopes among central Queensland locals with plans to buy Great Keppel Island for a reported $50 million. Rinehart pulled out of the negotiations with Sydney-based developer Terry Agnew’s Tower Holdings in June this year.

However, a deal for Dunk Island did proceed with Annie Cannon-Brookes, wife of Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, securing the tropical resort for $25 million in a deal that recently settled.

That sale comes on the heels of the $42 million acquisition of Lizard Island by Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and his wife Nicola’s private investment company Tattarang.

CBRE has been appointed by White Horse to manage the expressions of interest campaign.

“The asset is essentially a blank canvas for an incoming investor, allowing them to follow the masterplan developed by the existing owner White Horse Group or undertake a smaller scale luxury redevelopment,” says Hayley Manvell, associate director of CBRE Hotels.

Lindeman Island, located about 15km from Hamilton Island, is being offered on a perpetual leasehold with four long-term leases over 136-hectares of land, comprising the closed beachfront resort, golf course and air strip. The island also has 637 hectares of national park and seven private beaches

The expressions of interest campaign closes on 25 August 2022, although CBRE notes that a sale could proceed if the owner finds a buyer before then.

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