ALREADY spending hundreds of millions on its world renowned Jupiters Casino, Star Group has now announced whopping $2 billion plans for up to five new towers with 3000 apartments and hotel rooms on Broadbeach Island.
Star Entertainment Group is working with the State Government on the audacious plans that would allow people to live at the Casino site.
The area has an overlay that makes it exempt from local council decisions, with the Queensland State Government having the final say.
The initial tower, set to be completed by 2019, will have three way interests, with Hong Kong investors Chow Tai Fook and Far East Consortium joining with Star group in the venture.
It is set to feature some 700 apartments, with 300 of those hotel rooms and the rest for residential.
Proceeds from that tower will then help fund the further developments.
“We will only develop the additional towers when we get the demand proven up through pre-sales,” The Star chief executive Matt Bekier said.
“Once you have the pre-sales, you can pre-fund it and build it and it will give you the confidence that you can go again.
“For subsequent towers, we will look at the mix of customers we are getting and where we see demand by 2018 to determine the brands, but there will be nothing under 4.5 stars.”
Star Queensland managing director Geoff Hogg said it would be the first time people could actually live at and own a piece of the casino site.
“The first thing we’ll focus on is getting approval – hopefully in about July – and then we hope to start marketing them in December,” he said.
The move comes as James Packer’s Crown Resorts reportedly joined forces with the Chinese ASF consortium in a bid for a second casino licence on the Gold Coast, with Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung also in the wings, having purchased the iconic ‘Vomitron’ site, with hopes for a casino there.
It all adds up to a casino civil war, in which Star currently holds all the aces.
Work is well under way on the Jupiter’s renewal, the $345 million redevelopment of the iconic casino featuring refurbishment of each of the 600 current hotel rooms, to go along with a six-star, 17-storey hotel tower, which will feature over 50 luxury suites.
“The master plan is setting out the full potential of the site,” Beiker said.
“What is currently fully committed is the existing development, the tower in front and the additional tower – subject to planning approvals.
“We haven’t got that yet.
“But if it makes economic sense to build this, then there is no reason why we shouldn’t be advancing all the other developments as quickly as we possibly can.”
Beaker said the massive development would eventually rival Brisbane’s Queen’s Wharf.
“Queen’s Wharf has about 1100 hotel rooms, the hotel room capacity for Queen’s Wharf is scaled so the rest of Brisbane takes double the capacity of what Queen’s Wharf already takes,” he said.
“What we are doing here is trying to match that.
“The idea being the typical tourist has two to three stops in Australia, the international tourist.
“If we have a matching capacity we can give them a modern urban experience and quite an outstanding, different, beach type experience, so we can maximise the share of the market that we get here in Queensland.”
Beaker said the move would “put the Gold Coast on the map” and solidified Star group’s affiliation with the region.
“We are firmly committed to the Gold Coast,” he said.
“We are already well advanced on transforming the property through the hotel refurbishment and new restaurants.
”Later this year we will rebrand to The Star Gold Coast as our new six-star all-suite tower takes shape.
“In March we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with our Queen’s Wharf Brisbane partners Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium to co-invest in the proposed new tower and to investigate further development options in our master plan concept.
“This type of joint venture with our highly-credentialed partners has the potential to create a tourism asset on a significant scale that helps position the industry as an economic driver in Queensland.
“Importantly, with our vision for the Gold Coast, together with Queen’s Wharf Brisbane, we will be able to leverage the unique tourism experiences both properties will offer. This will provide an even broader benefit to the south east Queensland region as a whole by encouraging more visitors to stay longer.”
The tower, set to be some 200m in height, is expected to generate more than 1000 construction jobs and the project could produce about 2300 new jobs on the Gold Coast.
The current works on Jupiters are set to be complete by the time the Commonwealth Games rolls around in 2018.