$1.2B Coast supertower owner’s new move
A CHINESE-controlled company which has been planning to take apartment living in Surfers Paradise literally to new heights might have cold feet.
Orion International Group, which operates out of Melbourne, unveiled plans in 2016 for a $1.2 billion project.
It was touted that the planned venture, tagged Orion Towers, would deliver the southern hemisphere's tallest building at 103 levels.
The ambitious twin-tower project, viewed by some as somewhat pie in the sky, was given the green light by the city council.
It appears Orion, two years on from getting that green light, is having second thoughts about trying to realise its ambition.
The Orion Towers site discreetly has been 'punted around the market', according to property agents.
They say Orion wants $40 million for it. The group paid $25 million for its land, which is on the western, or dry, side of the Gold Coast Highway south of central Surfers.
The amalgamated holding's commonly known as the Thrifty site because the car-rental group of that name has had a base on part of it for years.
Orion's major shareholder is a China-born fellow who gives Mission Bay in Auckland as his address on company records.
The company is no newcomer to property development in Australia, having undertaken a tower, apartment and land projects in Victoria.
It has two further towers planned but they are not in the same league as the Surfers Paradise project.
Orion Towers, in which the shorter building's a mere 76 storeys, would house 1127 apartments.
The plan includes a 165-room five-star hotel, an 'urban canyon' housing ground-floor retail, and a 1000 sqm penthouse on level 100.
Guests and residents would have a choice of five pools, including an eastern one to catch the morning sun and a western one for afternoon bathers.
The grandiose scheme was formulated at a time when offshore Chinese groups were targeting the Gold Coast and looked like becoming major players.
That was until the Chinese Government put the brakes on the exit of capital.
The problems Chinese groups have been having with projects such as Jewel and Spirit can't have done a lot for Orion International's confidence.
Nor would the fact that plans for Chinese provincial government- backed twin towers called Elegance on a $34.1 million site at Broadbeach look dead in the water.
Also weighing on Orion's mind could be that the owners of two whole city blocks on the northern side of Surfers, one of them Chinese and the other Melbourne investor and seller of the Thrifty site Alan Ali, have not been successful in quitting them.
The outlook for big sites looks even gloomier given that the owner of another two full city blocks, the Ralan group, has failed and receivers are in control of the holdings and poised to market one of them.
The Thrifty site, which spans 5278 sqm, was earmarked for two lesser towers before Orion International snared it.
Brisbane's Citimark group mooted a staged project with 67 and 48- level towers but canned the idea when it could not get development approval in time to satisfy the seller.
The fact that Citimark in May aborted a 46-floor building, more than half sold, across the road from the Orion site also cannot have done Orion International's confidence a lot of good.
* SOHEIL and Sahba Abedian, the father and son that run the listed Sunland Group, appear set to become residents of Mermaid Beach's Multi-Millionaires' Row.
A prospective buyer in Sunland's 272 Hedges tower says he's been assured the 44-floor tower will be of great quality because the Abedians will be residents.
That ties in with a return to the Gold Coast by Sahba, who is selling his $3 million-plus penthouse in the group's Abian tower in Brisbane.
* A RETIRED couple who averted a mortgagee sell-off of their prime riverfront Surfers Paradise holding have been paid $5.5 million for the Cannes Ave site.
A Melbourne mortgagee set an auction date earlier this year before Richard and Jane Corbould apparently gained new funding with days to spare and regained control of the 2239 sqm holding.
Brisbane developer Marquee in July signed up to buy the property, has now settled the deal, and is planning 15-floor, 96-unit tower.
* BRENDON Ansell, former London investment banker, is taking his Velocity group on a new foray into the luxury apartment market at Burleigh Heads.
The Brisbane company, which joined the ASX in 2017, has bought a 1960s unit block on a 939sqm First Ave lot, one property back from The Esplanade and adjoining a masonic lodge.
Velocity, which debuted in Burleigh in 2016 with nine apartments on the headland, wants to build a 14-level tower with 23 apartments.