$1.2B SUPERTOWER READY TO FIRE UP

Written on the 21 December 2015 by Nick Nichols

$1.2B SUPERTOWER READY TO FIRE UP THE Gold Coast's next beachside supertower is a step closer after Chinese conglomerate Forise Holdings settled the $65 million purchase of the former Iluka site in Surfers Paradise.

The settlement clears the way for Forise, through its local subsidiary Forise Investment Australia, to make an immediate start on a proposed $1.2 billion beachfront tower on the site - the largest single-tower development planned for the Gold Coast.

The announcement comes on the heels of Wanda Ridong making a start this year to its long-awaited Jewel triple-tower project at the southern end of Surfers Paradise, crystallising the growing interest in iconic projects on the Coast by Chinese developers.

Both projects have a combined end value of more than $2 billion.

Tenders have already been issued for the yet-to-be-named Forise development, while work on early stage construction is expected in mid-January.

The proposed 88-level tower, being developed on the 3494sqm site fronting The Esplanade and Trickett Street, will comprise 693 luxury apartments and three separate recreation deck levels and over three podiums.

"Forise is in the unique position of being able to start construction immediately and, now the site has settled, is on track to commence site works early in the New Year, allowing for full construction to commence as early as March 2016," says Forise Investment Australia CEO Fenix Dong.

"We see the opportunity on the Gold Coast to create a true signature tower that will further elevate the city as an international destination, and want to deliver it as soon as possible."

Forise plans to create a signature retail and restaurant precinct within the development, targeting high-end retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Prada, as well as Michelin-star restaurant operators.

Forise, one of China's largest diversified financial holding companies, snared the Iluka site this year from interests associated with Goldman Sachs.

The development, which at 285 metres will arguably become the Gold Coast's tallest building behind Q1, obtained council approval in September.

Forise spokesman and Gold Coast lawyer Tony Hickey describes it as a landmark development that will reshape the Gold Coast skyline.

"Forise Chairman Xin Wang sees the Gold Coast as an emerging global city led by a progressive council, which has played an integral role in attracting major projects to key centres like Surfers Paradise," Hickey says.

"More than ever before, Surfers Paradise is now on the radar of international investors as a Pacific Rim tourism and leisure hub, the result of the billions of dollars of investment and urban renewal currently under way.

"This, together with the efforts of Mayor Tom Tate, was a significant factor in Mr Wang's decision to secure the last remaining beachfront site in the heart of Surfers.

"Forise's settlement of the site now ensures that the project will move forward and deliver its estimated $2.08 billion in direct and indirect economic benefits for the city.

"Much of this economic benefit will be in the form of new employment opportunities for local businesses and individuals, with the project forecast to generate an average of up to 1064 development and construction jobs per annum and about 645 equivalent full time jobs in retail services and hospitality upon completion."

The Forise project, said to become Australia's largest residential five-star green-star certified apartment building, is expected to be completed in 2020.

Author: Nick Nichols

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