Star Entertainment has given a vote of confidence to the potential of the Gold Coast’s tourism industry, pressing ahead with plans to build a A$400 million “Tower for Tourism” despite the Covid-19 crisis.
The tower is part of a $2 billion plan to redevelop the company’s Broadbeach island property.
The new development is expected to break ground in coming weeks and will comprise a 63-storey mixed use tower. Star said it’s currently in talks with an international five-star hotel brand for the tower, taking the total number of hotels at the IR to four.
“While we continue to work through and manage the serious impacts of domestic and international border restrictions on our business and the industry more broadly, the decision to proceed with our second tower is part of our unwavering commitment to the Gold Coast,” Star Chairman John O’Neill said.
The tower is expected to open in mid-to-late 2024 and will have 210 hotel rooms and 457 apartments. Seventy per cent of the one, two, and three-bedroom apartments have already been sold since pre-sales began in May 2019. Prices range from $596,000 to around $1.8 million.
The Star Gold Coast is being overseen by Destination Gold Coast Consortium – the joint venture between The Star, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, and Far East Consortium.
“This is an outstanding win for the Gold Coast and the Palaszczuk Government’s focus on jobs and helping the tourism industry to rebuild better after COVID-19,” Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said in a release. “We approved the consortium’s $2 billion+ masterplan in 2018. “Today’s decision to proceed with a second mixed-use tower for locals and visitors shows confidence in Gold Coast tourism’s economic recovery. “Construction of the tower is expected to deliver 1,800 direct and indirect jobs, and once operational, another 500 job opportunities across The Star Gold Coast.”
Although Australia’s borders will remain closed to foreign tourists this year due to Covid-19, the Gold Coast boasts strong support from the domestic market. In the six months up to June 2020, there were 3.7 million visitors to the region, with 3 million of them from within Australia. Spending hit $2.7 billion, that’s down from $5.3 billion prior to the crisis.
The Gold Coast ranked 7th in terms of expenditure and 5th in terms of visits out of Australia for the 2018/2019 fiscal year.
Despite the strong tourism base, Star has fought back against plans by the Queensland government to issue a second casino license.
Last year, the government announced it was dropping efforts to woo a second operator due to lack of local demand. However, it also declined to give Star the 30-year exclusivity it had been seeking in return for its investments in the state.