CHINESE OWNER TESTS THE NORTH'S LUXURY MARKET

CHINESE OWNER TESTS THE NORTH'S LUXURY MARKET

THE Chinese owner of Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas has received development approval for an upgrade of the $100 million Mirage Witsundays resort as it readies to test the market for luxury apartments in north Queensland.

Fullshare Group, which splashed out a combined $150 million for three resorts including the Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas and Laguna Quays in 2012, plans to transform the Mirage Whitsundays, formerly known as Whisper Bay at Airlie Beach.

All three resort properties were owned by Melbourne developer David Marriner, with Fullshare a joint-venture partner in Whisper Bay before the buyout.

Fullshare plans to include a fine dining restaurant, spa and gymnasium to attract apartment buyers to the upmarket property.

"Mirage Whitsundays is Airlie Beach's first five-star resort and the developer's investment will ensure it remains the preeminent resort on the Whitsundays Coast," says Mirage Whitsundays general manager Anne-Marie Oxley.

"This upgrade will take Mirage Whitsundays to a new level by incorporating premium luxury and lifestyle facilities into the resort."

The Airlie Beach upgrade comes on the heels of Fullshare announcing a $40 million refurbishment of Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas.

Luxury apartments in the Airlie Beach project are expected to sell from $685,000 to $1.2 million.

This will be the base price for apartments, with other properties, including a two-story villa, three-story townhouse and a penthouse priced from $1.85 million.

PRDnationwide Whitsundays principal Christie Leet, who is marketing Mirage Whitsundays, says the proposed upgrade will strengthen the offering to potential buyers.

"With the introduction of the Mirage brand and the reconfiguration of this project into a luxury resort development we see this being arguably one of the best property investment opportunities on the eastern seaboard of Australia," Leet says.

"There is a limited supply of luxury beachside product in Airlie with only 328 waterfront properties remaining in the area."

The 104-apartment Mirage Whitsundays is hoping to capitalise on improved international connections to the region, with the Whitsunday Shire Council pushing ahead with plans for international charter flights from New Zealand and Shanghai visitors from early next year.

The move is being aided by a $59 million redevelopment of the Proserpine Airport which includes a runway extension, infrastructure upgrades and car park expansion.

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