IT'S been in the sights of developers for more than a decade, and now Greenmount Resort at Coolangatta finally looks destined for demolition after Sunland Group (ASX:SDG) acquired the ageing property for $26 million.

However, Sunland managing director Sahba Abedian says there are no plans by the company to develop a major high rise on the site.

He says any redevelopment will comply with the existing 40-metre height restrictions in place for the property which sits atop Greenmount Headland overlooking Rainbow Bay.

"Our vision for this landmark site is to conceive an architectural outcome which complements the existing scale, character and beauty of Coolangatta, while contributing to its ongoing renaissance," says Abedian.

"We see great opportunity on the southern Gold Coast, where the surge in urban renewal and investment is accompanied by a collective understanding that preserving the vibrant village atmosphere of these communities is fundamental to their success."

The three-star Greenmount Resort was acquired from Singapore investor Gertrude Guok, who has held the property for 20 years.

While Sunland secured the property through a tender process, Abedian says the company has been eying it for more than six years.

"We're very happy with this acquisition; it is a wonderful opportunity to secure an iconic Gold Coast property," he says.

While the existing 151-room resort will make way for a new development once approvals are granted, Abedian says that, until then, it will continue to operate as normal.

He says plans are yet to be firmed up but Sunland's redevelopment of Greenmount is likely to incorporate a resort, combined with residential elements.

The prime beachfront site, located at the junction of Hill Street and Marine Parade, has been in the sights of developers for the past decade, including a failed bid by former ASX-listed City Pacific which had contracted to buy it for $34 million in 2007.

The latest deal, which is due to settle in December, adds to Sunland's growing interest in the former Gold Coast company's home market, with major projects already in train at Palm Beach, Mermaid Waters, Pimpama and Sanctuary Cove.

The developer is also reworking a proposed high rise at Labrador on the site of the existing KFC outlet at Loder's Creek. A revised development application has been submitted to the council.

Abedian says Sunland has growing confidence in the Gold Coast market, particularly at the southern end, despite signs of slowdown in Sydney.

"The market has had a strong run in Sydney and this offers an opportunity for investors to look further north," he says.

"There is still some movement forward in the market and we see the next 12 to 24 months as very positive, although we are still taking a very cautious approach."

The sale of Greenmount resort by Guok will complete two large-scale transactions by the long-time Gold Coast investor in the space of 12 months.

Guok sold the International Beach Resort, formerly known as the Apollo, at Surfers Paradise to Tony Fung's Aquis group for $55 million last year. Fung has since indicated a desire to develop a supertower to rival Q1 on the site.

Guok bought the Apollo building in 1993 for $11.4 million, and secured Greenmount Resort in 1996 for $7.8 million.


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