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Gold Coast Sheraton Mirage to be sold for $160 million to Aquis casino billionaires



Gold Coast Sheraton Mirage to be sold for $160 million to Aquis casino billionaires
Gold Coast Sheraton Mirage to be sold for $160 million to Aquis casino billionaires

Aquis Entertainment’s Tony and Justin Fung could looking at opening a Gold Coast casino. Photo: Romy Bullerjahn

The Hong Kong billionaires behind Australia’s largest casino proposal, Aquis, believe Queensland’s Gold Coast could become a destination for big-spending overseas gamblers.

It comes as the Fung family secured the exclusive negotiation rights to purchase the five-star Sheraton Mirage resort, which has been on the market since last year.

Gold Coast Sheraton Mirage to be sold for $160 million to Aquis casino billionaires

An artist’s impression of the proposed $8 billion Aquis casino and resort in Cairns. Photo: Supplied

It is understood the Fungs will pay about $160 million for the site, adding to a recent $120 million Gold Coast property spending spree.

The head of Aquis Entertainment’s Australian operations, Justin Fung, said a casino at the Sheraton was being considered.

“There are a lot of different options available to us, one of which may include a casino,” Mr Fung said.

“We have a lot of confidence in international tourism coming to Queensland…The Gold Coast is obviously a great representation of that and has an international brand name, it has tourism infrastructure already, we have seen the announcement of direct international flights from China. There’s been a lot of foreign investment coming into the city.”

The Gold Coast already has the Jupiters casino, and plans for a second casino in the area were in the works until the Queensland Government halted an integrated resort and cruise ship terminal at Wavebreak Island.

Any new casino would require licence approval from Queensland’s state government.

However, Mr Fung was confident the Gold Coast could sustain a second casino.

“When we talk about the capacity for a second casino it isn’t entirely based on local population, it’s dependent on the growth of the tourism sector,” he said.

In recent months Aquis Entertainment has spent $50 million on a Robina development site, $55 million Surfers Paradise apartment site, $15.8 million on Nathan Tinkler’s Patinack Farms and $7 million on a Gold Coast penthouse.

Negotiations are continuing with the Queensland state government to secure a licence for the $8 billion Aquis casino and resort in Cairns, which could open in 2020.

The elaborate Macau-style resort will seek to attract international players with deep pockets ahead of local punters.

Aquis has received environmental approvals and Mr Fung said negotiations with the Labor government was progressing well.

“We’re feeling very confident,” he said.

“I’ve found that they’ve been very forward-thinking, they’ve been cooperative, they’ve been fair but firm. We’re very confident about our future in Queensland.”

Aquis purchased Casino Canberra last year for $6 million and is planning a major facelift.

By Kristian Silva via

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Investment Advice

The ripe apple for investors? Oasis’ Gavin McPherson




Of course, I finished my last article with a poke at the overpriced markets of Sydney and Melbourne.

Now for someone that calls Sydney ‘home’ 3-4 days per week and in South East Queensland the other 3-4, I may as well call my hand early. That is…I’d only invest in Sydney and Melbourne perpetually, if all things were even.

The problem however is that things aren’t even, and they never have been. So let’s explore those discrepancies.

So with the prerequisite that you should read my last article, allow me to switch from bear to bull and start with the ripe opportunities that sit north of the NSW border. And I’ll start with the counterpoint of my last article with the introduction that “the cure for low prices…IS low prices.”

I’d ask the reader to think about it this way…using Gold Coast as an example.

Gold Coast didsuffer from overdevelopment in 2007. Over 100 cranes in the sky were witnessed with as many as 14,500 apartments (approved in 2004-2006) advanced from concept to delivery. Of course, many of these sold while the market was solid, but as history would demonstrate, as many as 3000-4000 new apartments (without buyers) were delivered to the market just when the market turned on the eve of the Global Financial Crisis. Some of these properties still traded, with disgruntled buyers settling on them at the risk of being sued. Many of them returned these to the market trying to recover their costs. They failed. Others returned their contracts and lost their property deposits. All in all, the market was flooded with all sellers trying to head for the exit at the same time, not to mention the oversupply of rental property, tipping the Gold Coast into 4%+ territory, one of the weakest across Australia.
But while the above took all the headlines, think about the effect this had on construction. Pre GFC, the Gold Coast had a raft of over 100 cranes featured in the skyline to satisfy the appetite of developers. Full circle to 2011, once the already committed projects of the Hilton and Soul were constructed…a total of only one crane only graced the Gold Coast skyline.
Fast forward 4-5 years, seeing in record low interest rates for domestic buyers and a stellar exchange rate for overseas buyers, Gold Coast is craving for more dwellings. How would I know this? Do you think I just made this up?
It’s easy. The Gold Coast now has sub 1% vacancy rates (REIQ). In fact, while other figures show 1.8% across the whole of the coast, it’s well understood that the congestion does appear on in the Surfers/Broadbeach /Mermaid and Main Beach districts, putting further downward pressure on this figure. Vacancy rates are a symptom of a market that does not have enough property. It’s also the reason why I envelope this notion in the adage that “low prices IS the cure for low prices.”

Bottom line, all the extra property that had been on the market after the GFC has been bought. Whether it sold for high, low or firesale prices is irrelevant. That property is all gone. Sold. And most likely with long term owners who are braced for long term investment, not about to return it to the market tomorrow and realise only minor profits.

With vacancy rates this low and the Southern markets of Sydney and Melbourne now reaching their zenith, one also has the value proposition that the Gold Coast presents to the foreign buyer. A quick check on the algorithm for the $AUD to Chinese RMB (now 4.60 to $1AUD), noting that five years ago the equation represented a 25% currency increase, with the RMB to $AUD at 6.12. If you thought Gold Coast property was cheap before, try it with a 25% discount!
I concede that a 25% currency discount is an almost unfair advantage, and it’s the reason why my advice to clients now is not to hesitate on purchasing in the Gold Coast. With vacancy rates so low, a simple $450k investment, realising up to $480/$500 per week rental is all possible, with the near term pressure to push the rental yields up even higher as the sea change effect also brings more residents to the Gold Coast.

Again I ask, do you think I’m guessing about this [migration to the Coast] Sea Change effect? Think again. For those who thought that Gold Coast is an employment desert, I’d challenge that with facts. In 2014, the Coast provided a whopping 181,856 net jobs increase. A different data sample reveals similar outcomes with recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) pointing to 14,100 net jobs increase per month. The fact that in 2013 that figure was 19,662 should demonstrate that the trajectory is not just good…it’s gobsmacking. With a current population of 535,000 and projections of a population of 680,000 by 2021, (QLD Office of Economy and Statistical Research Population) there is a lot of room for rationing this growth and still achieving outstanding property prices in the near future. These recent ABS figures put the Gold Coast at the top of Queensland’s employment economy.

Of course, other regions are not immune to the same primary drivers that subscribe to this logic (the cure for low prices IS low prices). That brings Wollongong, the Hunter and certainly some other regional bastions like Cairns and Townsville.

For me however, the clincher is certainly the extra ‘froth’ that gets created around Gold Coast by the strong support by overseas investment. That is not to say some of these other regions do not see the same benefit; they do. But in its brief but important history, the Gold Coast sits at the top of the queue for international investment. And with all signs pointing to more inward investment that out with the $AUD exchange rate, look for “the Goldie” to outstrip all its peers in spades!

So with my investor hat on now and the old adage that ‘the trend is your friend’…this is one trend that, in my opinion, is not only predictable…but imminent!

Gavin McPherson is chief executive officer of Oasis Property Buyers Agency and author of “Value Investing in Property: What would Warren Buffet do if he was investing in property in Australia?”

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Investment Advice

Risks Still Present, But Gold Coast An Improved Location For Investment




Despite the fact that Gold Coast real estate still carries a number of risks, the tourist destination’s property market has received an endorsement from one real estate research firm.

Released yesterday, the SQM Research Gold Coast Market Snapshot report gives the Gold Coast an investment rating of 3.75 stars out 5, up from the 3 stars it has held since 2011.

Using the SQM Research scale, a score of 3.75 means a location has a favourable outlook and should be considered for investment.

SQM Research director Louis Christopher said the improved score for the Gold Coast was the result of improving economic conditions seen in the region over recent times.

The report predicts that dwelling prices on the Gold Coast will grow by 7-11% during 2016, with rents growing at around 8%.

According to the report, the region’s vacancy rate is below 2%, while rental yields are hovering around 6%.

The low Australian dollar is also expected to boost tourism numbers in the area and as a result improve employment opportunities, while the 2018 Commonwealth Games are stoking enthusiasm for the region.

“Back in 2010 the Gold Coast housing market suffered a perfect storm of events that created a major dwelling price crash,” Christopher said.

“A lot of those events have now dissipated and right now, there are many favourable economic factors which are helping to improve the region,” he said.

“So we believe Gold Coast property investors are likely to enjoy good returns, both in rents and capital growth for up to the next three years.”

While the region may be improving, some of the positives in the report could prove to be double-edged swords.

The report identifies that the region’s market does still have a level of volatility to it, while an economy reliant on tourism can be prone to boom and bust cycles.

There is also some concern the region may be hit by a post- Commonwealth Games slump in 2019.

There are signs that people may be thinking the pros outweigh the cons however, after it was revealed last week that apartment sales on the Gold Coast are booming.

Rocket Property Group chief executive officer Ian Hosking Richards said it appears that the region is in the midst of a recovery of sorts.

“The Gold Coast has always been a bit volatile, when it’s booming it’s booming but when it slows down it can fall off a cliff,” Hosking Richards said.

“Since the last correction we had the Gold Coast has sort of just been sliding along and it’s about that time now where after four or five years you would expect to see things pick up,” he said.

“The other thing is that the major players who left the region are coming back in and they’re paying good prices for land to develop and as a result the price of apartments and houses are going to rise.”

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Investment Advice

7 Common GST Mistakes On Property




It’s great to see the property market in South-East Queensland going in the right direction. With that comes an upswing in volume of transactions and GST consequences to consider.

GST and property has always been a touchy area and the Australian Taxation Office have remained active and vigilant in identifying problem transactions.

With the market now moving in the right direction we thought it a good time to set out the most common mistakes we see in the market by developers and professionals. So, here are 7 Common GST Mistakes on Property:


For some reason this continues to happen almost 15 years after GST was introduced. If a developer sells pre-existing residential premises there will be no GST effect [they are input taxed supplies]. This is despite the fact that the developer is GST registered and selling to another GST registered developer. To be clear this only applies to pre-existing houses, units, apartments, etc … not land that may happen to be in a residential area.


While most developers are aware that selling under the margin scheme can save GST on sale it is still often left out of the contract in error. The only way to fix this problem is to go to the purchaser after settlement to agree the margin scheme was used. You then still have an additional step in asking the ATO to waive the normal requirement to have this agreed prior to settlement. If this doesn’t occur you have lost the full 1/11th in GST on sale.

[Tip – make sure you can use the margin scheme in the first place]


No GST can be claimed where you intend to rent out a property for residential rent. This is the case even if you intend to sell the property as new residential premises within 5 years of construction.

[Tip – make sure you have considered the cash-flow effect of not being able to claim back GST on construction costs]


When you undertake a development you need to consider whether or not you should register or if you are required to be registered for GST for your specific development. If you are subdividing land that you have held for a long term for a capital purpose such as rental, then you might not need to register for GST. If you choose to register for GST when you’re not required to by law you could be giving a lot of profit away by unnecessarily paying GST on the sale of the development property.

[Tip – do the maths and seek advice on your personal circumstances]


This is another common misconception. Traditionally with GST the type of property tends to determine the GST treatment. In other words you should look at the property and understand what its normal form and function is. Don’t just look at how the property is used. This will mean many properties used in a commercial way may not actually be subject to GST.

[Tip – you normally shouldn’t be charging GST to a commercial tenant in this circumstance or claiming back GST credits]


We have dealt with numerous circumstances on both sides of the fence where we have been able to get a much better GST result. In some cases the ATO has been actively engaged with to ensure a good outcome.

[Tip – it’s still easier and less costly to get it right up front prior to settlement]

This is not the case. GST and property tend to be one of the more common rulings the ATO are asked for. They also tend to be quick to resolve where you know what information is required to be provided up front. This is one way to deal with contentious GST matters under contract.

We see these types of mistakes happening all the time [along with many others]. But now over to you, leave your comments below and tell us what other GST mistakes you have experienced on property.

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