One-time banned businessman linked to tower


THE word canny often is applied to people who are shrewd, especially with money, and appears to have originated in Scotland.

Whether Gold Coast resident Paul Duncan, a Glaswegian by birth, is canny probably is debatable.

Four years ago he was roundly scolded by the corporate watchdog for trying to con people into investing in a non-existent fund.

The proposed tower.
The proposed tower.

Now the 57-year-old company director - he was born on Christmas Day 1961 -- has popped up in a major development project.

A company which he owns, and of which he is sole director, features in plans for a hotel-style tower at Broadbeach, across the road from the Belle Maison high-rise.

The 31-floor building, at 122-24 Surf Pde, would be a mere 150 metres from the throbbing dining heart of the beachfront suburb.

The owners of the 10 units that make up the fading Ultima and Mahanga low-rises are on board with plan.

All have consented to Duncan company Royal Group (Australia), which was set up in January, seeking development approval for the building.

A development application was submitted last week.
A development application was submitted last week.

Mahanga and Ultima together sit on 1227 sqm of land that carries a high-density zoning.

Just what might be paid for the land remains to be seen, as does who would be the ultimate buyer.

The actual development application for the BDA-designed tower has been lodged by another 'Royal' entity, one in which Paul does not show as a director or shareholder.

Royal Properties Australia is a $100 company which ultimately is owned by yet another Royal, this one Royal Pte which is Singapore-based.

Scotsman Paul, whose address on company records is given as a waterfront Runaway Bay house that has been advertised for rent at $1200 a week, ran into trouble with ASIC in mid-2015.


Broadbeach. Photo: Chris Bashall
Broadbeach. Photo: Chris Bashall

It banned him from providing financial services for four years.

The move came after it found he had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct through his company Active Capital Managers.

'Active' promoted the Exalt Managed Futures Fund and gave the impression it was licensed, regulated and trading.

The watchdog sniffed out that the fund was none of those things because it didn't exist.

Paul wasn't banned from being a director and he wears a director's hat at a list of companies that range, in name, from Adam Harvest to Western Downs Developments, Minh Duc Developments, and Hung Viet International.

In August he added six directorships to his business roles.

At Royal Group (Australia), which has capital of $120, he is sole shareholder, sole director, and secretary.

The Broadbeach plan involves a building with 196 units in the form of hotel suites and serviced apartments.

There'd be a ground-level café and the roof level would have another café, along with an outdoor food and drink service and VIP dining room.

Maybe Paul, all going well, might be sitting up there one day drinking champers and toasting a 'canny' role in bringing the project to fruition.


Mimi Macpherson.
Mimi Macpherson.

* A LUXURY boutique beachfront apartment building that was the development pride of former whale-watching queen Mimi Macpherson is a step closer to become a pile of rubble.

Brisbane's Spyre group, which three months ago put a $16.15 million tentative foot on the 17-year-old Aspect, apparently has gone unconditional on its eight apartments.

Spyre, which is behind top-shelf Broadbeach tower Elysian, is yet to reveal its plans for the 1011 sqm site on The Esplanade.

Artist impressions of the Winten Property Group’s project. Picture: Supplied by Gold Coast City Council
Artist impressions of the Winten Property Group’s project. Picture: Supplied by Gold Coast City Council

* A SITE deal that could have led to a five-star low-rise hotel being built at Main Beach is dead in the water.

The five-title holding, between Woodroffe and Peak avenues and owned by the Winten group, was put under conditional contract in June.

The 2655 sqm parcel, across the road from land on which Brisbane's Trenert group is planning top-shelf tower White, is back on the market, with Winten chasing at least $16 million.


Artist impression of the Orion Towers proposed for Surfers Paradise
Artist impression of the Orion Towers proposed for Surfers Paradise

* A GROUP that's sitting on a Surfers Paradise site approved for twin towers, one of them 103 levels, has kicked a big goal in Melbourne.

A boutique 12-floor office building which the Chinese-owned Orion International bought for $21.6 million five years ago has sold to a Swiss buyer for $52 million.

Orion bought what's known as the Thrifty car-rental site in Surfers for $25 million in 2015 but has shown no sign of pushing the development go-button.