I’ve been on the Gold Coast for almost 30 years and I am sensing some distinct similarities between the late 1990s and 2014 in terms of how we are positioning ourselves for the next upswing in the economic cycle. And it’s great news ahead.
Looking back, the early 90s were punctuated by limited economic growth and interest rate rises of 17 per cent which sent many to the wall. In contrast, we have a prime investment environment with the cash rate at a 30-year low of 2.5 per cent (Click on graph below).
It was the 11-year period of economic stagnation and flagging property prices in the 1990s – created by Paul Keating’s infamous ‘recession we had to have’ – that set the scene for the biggest economic boom in the Gold Coast’s history starting in late 2001.
One only has to look at a snapshot of new projects planned in one of Australia’s fastest growing cities to see the magnitude of new private investment activity in the city.
It is important to make the distinction between private and public investment – because while the city has been transformed with public infrastructure such as the $1.2 billion light rail, the $1.7 billion Gold Coast University Hospital and the ongoing upgrades to the Pacific Motorway – it is the absence of private investment activity that has been most notable over the last six years.
That has changed in the last six months – and it’s very exciting.
Let’s start with institutions such as AMP Capital and Echo Entertainment. AMP as owner of Pacific Fair Shopping Centre has begun construction on a $670-million redevelopment of the centre. Directly opposite at Broadbeach, Echo Entertainment has begun its $345 million redevelopment of its existing premises and will include the construction of a new hotel tower.
On the private residential front, here are some of the projects on the move, and the real story is not in the projects currently under construction, but the projects readying for development:
- Rhapsody Surfers North – a $120 million, 41-level apartment tower being developed by Ho Bee Land at Surfers Paradise.
- Brighton on the Broadwater – high rise king Harry Triguboff’s final tower which will include 500 apartments and a commercial and retail precinct anchored by Woolworths.
- Chinese developer Sanbano Group Capital’s $85 million luxury high rise apartments at Coolangatta.
- Synergy, a $70 million apartment project opposite the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre at Broadbeach by Amalgamated Property Group.
- Pikos Group’s $35 million Kirra Pure residential apartments at Kirra. Nearing completion.
- Showcase on the Beach, a $60 million re-development of the beachfront shopping complex.
- Robina Group’s City Village and Riverlily terrace home projects.
- Parkside Coomera and Ferndale Estate, residential projects on adjacent sites at east Coomera, both currently underway by developers Villa World and Polaris Coomera respectively.
- The $1 billion-plus Pacific View Estate at Worongary – Perth-based Perron Group’s 3500-lot master planned community including a village centre.
- Jewel, a $1 billion, three tower project incorporating a five-star resort in southern Surfers Paradise which has been approved and financed by joint venture with Ridong Australia and the Hong Kong-listed Wanda Group. Construction is scheduled for 2015.
- A $500 million, 1200 dwelling community on the site of the Gold Coast Country Club at Helensvale by the Melbourne-based Villawood Properties.
- $300 million Cypress Gardens project at Carrara, 970 apartments and 20ha of recreational gardens, which has received development approval and is earmarked for development over the next decade.
- Vantage Royal Pines, a $200 million apartment project next to RACV Royal Pines Resort, approved and progressing towards construction by long-time local developers Rayjon Group.
- The $180 million re-development of the landmark Kirra Beach Hotel comprising 10 and 15-level buildings with 147 apartments, resort hotel, conference centre and retail precinct which has council approval.
- The Harbour, a $150 million waterfront apartment project at Emerald Lakes, by Urban Construct.
- The $140 million Beach Hotel in Broadbeach, by Anthony Moreton Group and Pryde Group – awaiting approval.
- Sunland Group’s transformation of the former Palm Beach Mobile and Tourist Park into a $136 million residential development sprawling over 4.7 hectares.
- Morris Property Group’s $115 million Tallahassee, comprising 174 beachside apartments in Burleigh Heads – awaiting approval.
- A $100 million, 40-level luxury five-star hotel and serviced apartments on The Esplanade at Surfers Paradise proposed by Singapore hotel giant Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts.
- $60 million Sage Apartments in Merrimac by developer Minamarc.
- Imperial City, a 100-plus storey sky scraper touted as the southern hemisphere’s tallest residential tower. Plans have been submitted by the landowner for preliminary approval.
- A high density high rise and commercial precinct planned for a 1.5 hectare site fronting Marine Parade, Southport, on the former Star of the Sea site. The project is planned by Garuda GC Corporation, the Australian arm of Chinese company Xi’an Wenhua Industrial Co. DA has been lodged with Gold Coast City Council.
- A 386 apartment residential development overlooking the Glades Golf Course Robina.
- Sanbano Group’s Southport projects, a 51-storey tower on Nerang Street and dual tower project Zhen on Scarborough Street – both approved.
- Sunland Group’s Quays Hope Island, an $18 million townhome project on the waterfront.
The last six months has seen a tremendous upswing in development approvals, the establishment of joint ventures and the positioning of new projects into the pre-launch phase of their marketing programs.
The future is looking very bright for the Gold Coast and while economically we are still sputtering along, clearly the big players are positioning themselves for the inevitable upside to come.