The top end of Queensland’s tourist mecca Surfers Paradise is emerging as a multi-billion-dollar playground for developers with big plans to give the glitter strip renewed shine.

So far, the towering designs—adding a total of 10 high-rises to the Gold Coast skyline—span no less than three city blocks.

And despite prevailing economic uncertainty and construction challenges, the fundamentals of a market increasingly starved of new apartments are continuing to drive the large-scale developments.

Melbourne-based developer Gurner is readying to push the launch button on the first stage of its ambitious $1.7-billion four-tower luxury resort-living precinct La Pelago.

The mega project—a joint venture with investment house Wingate—is Gurner’s debut into the Gold Coast market and one of a trio of major development plays at the northern end of Surfers Paradise.

Gurner pounced on the 1.2ha supersite in 2019 after Sydney-based developer Ralan Group collapsed with debts of more than $560 million.

Encompassing a block bounded by Ferny, Norfolk, Pine and Oak avenues, it was acquired with an existing approval for 1000 apartments.

After recently gaining planning approval for a redesigned carbon neutral multi-tower project for the site overlooking Budds Beach, Gurner is now preparing to launch 28 storeys of the development’s first tower—the 65-level Aquia—to the market later this year.

The so-called Resort Residences will comprise one, two and three bedroom apartments ranging from $525,000 up to $1.8 million and sized from 60 to 200 square metres.

Across levels 29 to 42, the tower also will house a yet-to-be-announced global hotel brand offering accommodation in about 185 rooms.

Designed by architecture firm Warren & Mahoney, the project is spruiked as having drawn inspiration from “some of the world’s most exclusive private archipelago resorts”. It will feature a three-level resort-style podium with pools, lagoons, wellness and relaxation areas as well as a signature restaurant, bars and cafes.

Interiors designs have been led by Italian designer Simon Brugaletta and lush tropical landscaping planned by SWA, the landscape designers behind the Beverly Hills Hotel and Mexico’s Los Vantanas.

Gurner Gold Coast
▲ Renders of Gurner’s planned 65-level Aquia tower, the first stage of the developer’s four-tower La Pelago luxury resort precinct in Surfers Paradise.

“I have never been so excited to launch a project,” chief executive Tim Gurner said.

“While we are still finessing the details of the amenities and service that will be on offer, we have spent over 18 months ensuring that there is nothing else like it, not only on the Gold Coast but anywhere else in Australia.”

He said he had made “the brave call” to launch the project amid the current global uncertainty due to “huge” interest and demand from the company’s investor database and because there was “almost no supply in the pipeline for Gold Coast due to construction pricing”.

“We have been monitoring construction pricing to determine when it settles which we now believe it has,” Gurner said.

“And with little to no larger projects on the horizon, we think trades will look at the next 12 to 24 months and realise most of the jobs they had planned to work on are now not progressing and they will need to price on new work at a competitive rate again.

Gurner's La Pelago
▲ Render of Gurner’s mega development La Pelago designed by architects Warren & Mahoney.

“The Gold Coast is experiencing one of the most exciting periods in its history. Over 40,000 people moved here each year in 2020 and 2021, and with 70km of pristine sandy beaches and 300 days of sunshine per year, it’s not hard to see why.

“The vision for La Pelago really came together in 2020 when I was in lockdown at home with my family in Melbourne, thinking there has to be a way to bring an unparalleled resort lifestyle into a residential setting in Australia that’s only two hours from Sydney and Melbourne as opposed to six hours to Bali or Fiji.”

Nearby, Hong Kong-based developer SPG Land has plans to reshape a 1.15ha block—bordered by Ferny, Pandanus, Ocean avenues as well as Surfers Paradise Boulevard—with an $880-million triple-tower development, to be known as Paradiso Place and comprising 800 apartments.

Late last year, it swung open the doors of a $4 million sales centre—touted as the southern hemisphere’s largest—to launch the 150,000sq m development.

The Rothelowman-designed proposal features towers rising 38, 40 and 42 storeys, and will also include an Australian-first suspended glass-bottomed swimming pool and sky lounges on level 26. Apartments are priced from $550,000 to $14 million for the project’s penthouses.

Meanwhile, Meriton founder Harry Triguboff has put his foot on an 8083sq m city block, formerly partly occupied by the popular Vomitron and Slingshot amusement rides.

The veteran developer is planning a billion-dollar project of 1000 apartments across three towers on the site bordered by Ferny, Cypress and Palm avenues.

It is his third acquisition in five years in Surfers Paradise where he has completed the beachfront 76-storey tower Ocean and has another tower, the Iconica, under construction.

Article source: Queensland Property Investor