HOPE ISLAND TO LURE BIG HITTERS FROM CHINA

Written on the 24 January 2014

HOPE ISLAND TO LURE BIG HITTERS FROM CHINA

 A MAJOR golf tournament, a new five-star hotel and a share of the lucrative Chinese tourism market are all in the mix for the Links Hope Island Golf Club, according to the course’s new majority owner.

Golden Horse Nine Dragon Lake Holdings, a company with golfing interests in China, today settled the purchase of the Gold Coast golf course for an undisclosed sum in a deal with Don O’Rorke’s Consolidated Properties.

Golden Horse, which is headed by Feng Di, has acquired Consolidated Properties’ interest in the Links Hope Island golf course - the balance of which is owned by members – along with two prime waterfront development sites totalling 8162sqm.

The sites have approvals for up to 400 resort rooms and 29 permanent residences.

The deal also includes the balance of 553 of 990 equity shares in the Links course for $10 million.

The transaction settled today, with Mr Feng announcing he would be looking to progress plans for a hotel development on the property in order to attract wealthy Chinese golfing enthusiasts to the Gold Coast.

Golden Horse, which is also negotiating the purchase of Noosa Springs golf course on the Sunshine Coast, is the owner and developer of the 54-hole Dragon Lake Golf Resort in Guangzhou, China.

The course is host to The Royal Trophy, a PGA event.

Feng, speaking through his son Chan as interpreter, says he chose the Links after playing the course in August.

Consolidated Properties, which acquired the Links from Mirvac in 2007, had been out to sell its remaining assets on Hope Island for the past year.

“We really loved the course and we know a good golf course when we see it,” Chen says.

“We plan to make improvements to the facility to make it the best course on the Gold Coast.

“We also plan to bring in guests from China. We’ll have programs for them to come and play, and stay.”

Feng, who has extensive golf development and management experience in China, says the Gold Coast climate and the quality of the course will have the Chinese “flocking here”.

He says plans are still at an early stage, including any design for the new five-star hotel.

Feng says he plans to develop a hotel at the quality level of Dragon Lake in order to create a “first-class facility that can benefit the community and the golf club members”.

He says he is also looking at a number of investment opportunities on the Gold Coast and across Queensland, and he anticipates a long-term relationship with the Gold Coast.

Feng says it is seeking to lure a major golf tournament to the Links through its relationship with sports manager IMG, but discussions are still preliminary.

He says the scale of tournament will need to be discussed with club members before proceeding.

The existing management team at Links is expected to remain in place following settlement of the deal, with O’Rorke saying the transition would be seamless.

O’Rorke says he fielded several offers for the Hope Island assets and decided the offer from Golden Horse Nine Dragons was in the best interests of the members of the Links club.


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