THE Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) has barely started construction of a luxury six-star hotel at Jupiters Casino, yet has just announced it plans to bulk up its offering with another massive hotel project to cater for the more bargain-conscious traveller.
The Star, which is gearing up with Asian partners to also start construction of the $3 billion Queen's Wharf casino-resort in Brisbane's CBD, has announced it has kicked off the planning process for a new hotel on its Broadbeach casino site.
The 200-metre tower will bring a new 4.5-star hotel to the Gold Coast market, offering 700 hotel rooms and apartments.
The Star is teaming up with its joint-venture partners at Queen's Wharf, Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium, to bring the project to fruition as it continues a bold strategy to cement its position in the domestic leisure market.
The new development will bring to 1400 the total number of rooms across three hotels at Jupiters, which is soon to be renamed The Star Gold Coast.
The Star also plans to incorporate a live sports theatre within the project, as part of what it describes as a 'mega-investment' in the Gold Coast market.
"The sports theatre concept will be designed to appeal to both local and visiting sports enthusiasts," says the company.
"The attraction would provide a unique offering of live entertainment-event activations, screens broadcasting sports from around the world, and an array of food and beverage options."
Jupiters has previously committed to a $345 million upgrade of the Jupiters Casino property, including the new 17-level, six-star hotel which is under construction on the ocean side of the island site.
The new 4.5-star hotel development is expected to bring that investment to about $850 million, creating more than 1000 construction jobs and boosting Jupiters' workforce to 2300 on completion.
While the current six-star hotel development will target high rollers, The Star says the latest proposal is aimed at maximising tourism opportunities and creating 'universal tourism appeal' for the property.
The Gold Coast announcement is part of a broader strategy by The Star to combat the competitive pressures it is facing from James Packer's Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN), as well as a potential new player in the Gold Coast market.
The Star plans to cement its relationship with its Asian partners through further upgrades and redevelopments across all three properties it owns in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
The Queen's Wharf development is expected to be completed in 2022, while a timetable for the proposed new Jupiters hotel has not yet been determined.
The partners also plan to develop a new 200-metre tower at The Star Sydney, featuring a Ritz Carlton hotel, which would amount to a total investment of about $1 billion in Sydney including the current five-year investment plan of $500 million.
"We want to be Australia's leading integrated resorts operator and our plans for the Gold Coast are a significant part of that vision," says The Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier.
"Our commitment to the Gold Coast is unambiguous. We are already well advanced on transforming the property through the hotel refurbishment and new restaurants, and later this year when we rebrand to The Star Gold Coast, the new six-star all-suite tower will be rising out of the ground.
"Adding another tower in joint venture with such highly-credentialed partners as Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium has the potential to create a tourism asset at scale that helps serve to position the industry as an economic driver in Queensland.
"Importantly, we will also have a world-class property just up the highway at Brisbane to ensure the tourism experiences on offer, while unique by location, will also be complementary and of benefit to the broader south-east Queensland area by significantly increasing visitation.
"Our partnership with Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium, with their insights and touch points in Asian markets, will also assist in that respect."
The Star's Queensland managing director Geoff Hogg says the investments in Sydney and south-east Queensland were aimed at leveraging Asian interest in Australia as a leisure destination.
"Economic growth in China and the burgeoning affluent middle-class demographic has opened the doors of opportunity for Australia," he says.
"There is long-term sustainability in that market but also potential on a broader global tourism front."
Hogg says the additional investment in the Gold Coast 'underscores our confidence' in the city.
"We were the first major partner of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and we see the long-term growth potential in the region.
"For this development, we are not asking for additional land. The proposed development would be contained entirely on the island we occupy. We will also continue to engage and consult with stakeholders and the Queensland Government."
Meanwhile, Jupiters Casino has announced it plans to work with the City of Gold Coast on a $1 million upgrade of Gold Coast Bulletin Centenary Park on the corner of the Gold Coast Highway and T E Peters Drive at Broadbeach.
The canal-front park has been described as an under-utilised space that will benefit from new paths and open spaces, as well as pavilions.
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