FRENCH Connection, Versace and Queenspark are the latest retailers to open in Surfers Paradise’s new shopping and dining destination in High Street.

The specialty stores join a list of operators based in the precinct, located at the base of the landmark $700 million Hilton Surfers Paradise.

International fashion label French Connection is occupying a 135sqm premise; Versace Collection has taken up 150sqm and women’s clothing line Queenspark 163sqm.

Other news is that restaurant Groove Train will serve diners from its 521sqm premise and G’lati Bar, being operated by Gelati Australia, will open its kiosk by mid-year.

First Avenue cafe, Facial Aesthetics and Rejuvenation and Fadi’s Hair are already operating at High Street.

Brookfield Multiplex retail asset manager for Queensland Linda Durant, says more than 70 per cent of retail space in stage one and 60 per cent of space in stage two of the High Street precinct is now leased.

“New retailers will continue to open between now and late 2011 as the High Street precinct develops,” she says.

“We have already secured a great mix of international, national and local retailers – such as global fashion brands like French Connection – and are in negotiations with a number of operators for the remaining space at High Street.

“The response to this new, upmarket fashion and dining precinct has been fantastic. Retailers recognise that Surfers Paradise is changing with high-quality development like Hilton Surfers Paradise and they want to be part of, and take advantage of, that rejuvenation.”

When complete, High Street will feature a blend of food, fashion, footwear, accessories, jewellery and homewares.

“We don’t just want to create a retail precinct, but a new destination for both locals and visitors to Surfers Paradise,” says Durant.

“High Street will reflect the upmarket feel and quality of Hilton Surfers Paradise, with a cutting-edge design that includes sophisticated clean lined glass shop fronts and water features, and create a better connection to the surrounding shopping and lifestyle precincts.

“Groove Train will add to the food and beverage offering surrounding Hilton Surfers Paradise and will complement The Food Store, Fix Bar and Luke Mangan’s Salt grill located within the hotel.”

Groove Train director Tony Dimovski says the restaurant will seat up to 250 diners and become the company’s 13th in Australia and second on the Gold Coast.

In residences, Brookfield Multiplex last month posted a major off-the-plan sale with a sub penthouse on Level 53 of the Hilton’s Orchid Tower fetching $4.43 million. The sale equates to more than $18,400 per sqm and comes on the back of the $4.7 million sale of a sub penthouse on Level 54 earlier this year, which set a new record for the project at close to $20,000/sqm.

The latter is believed to be one of the highest price per square metre rates ever achieved in Queensland. The Orchid Tower is due for completion in the third quarter of 2011.

The developer has also submitted a proposal to the State Government to develop land opposite Sea World at The Spit after it was selected as the preferred developer through a competitive expression of interest (EOI) process.

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