CONSTRUCTION of RDG’s new six-star Surfers Paradise luxury hotel will begin in 2013 if the Chinese-backed developer secures approval from Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) next week.

GCCC’s city planning committee has given its vote of confidence, with Mayor Ron Clarke and 12 other councillors unanimously supporting the proposed $950 million Jewel hotel and resort.

It will be developed on the corner of Wharf and Old Burleigh roads in Surfers Paradise.

RDG chief executive Steven Haggart is upbeat about securing full-council approval next Monday (November 28).

“MacroPlan has done studies and predicts it will be worth $2 billion to the local economy and create 2260 jobs – including 450 construction jobs – over the next 20 years,” says Haggart.

“Out of 14 objectors (to the project) only two are living on either side of the site and most of them are more than one kilometre away.”

Jewel will include hotel suites, apartments and residences across three towers with a gym, spa, beach club, five-star Asian restaurant, ballroom and meeting facilities. There will also be a horizon edge pool on the 45th level roof-top.

DBI Design and US-based Oppenheim Architecture+Design principal Chad Oppenheim have been appointed to handle architecture and interior design work, while Hickey Lawyers partner Tony Hickey and Minter Ellison partners David Bowers and Steve Admundsen are advising RDG on legal aspects.

“We held an interior design competition and chose the winners because DBI has built everything of significance and Chad has a very dialectical approach. They have also worked together (before),” says Haggart.

RDG is holding talks with tier-one construction companies with plans to appoint builders by the end of 2012 with completion earmarked for 2015.

“We are looking for size and scale with the capability to do a project of this size,” says Haggart.

“There will only be one entry to the site and the whole thing has to be built at once. Local experience would be an advantage.”

RDG expects to sell 40 to 45 per cent of Jewel to foreign investors from Asia, the Middle East and other parts of the world. Domestic sales will target investors from Sydney and Melbourne.

“The Gold Coast is the last property market to bounce back and there are good development opportunities. Now’s the time to get in,” says Haggart.

The developer also plans to broaden its economic base by including technology parks and education in its offering.

“We want to work on student accommodation, research facilities and increasing capacity for universities,” says Haggart.

Haggart suggests diversification as a way to overcome challenges of changing Surfers Paradise’s negative image of crime, rowdy schoolies, inadequate parking and expensive rent.

“We need to diversify the Surfers Paradise market. It needs to become broader and deeper,” he says.

“The Hilton Surfers Paradise and proposed Soul developments will reposition the Gold Coast. It’s just an issue of many villages joining together.”

Meanwhile, developer Katie Page's proposed 10-storey high-rise on Main Beach Parade will proceed, despite legal opposition. Brisbane’s Court of Appeal today dismissed an appeal against an earlier ruling to grant development approval to the wife of retail king Gerry Harvey.

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