7 September 2016, Written by Nick Nichols


REACTION to the planned $1 billion sale of a 'mini-city' site between the Gold Coast and Brisbane has been swift, with at least one major Australian company in the frame as a potential buyer.

Roland Evans, principal of commercial realtor Canford Property Group, says he is vetting the veracity of interest shown in the 6100ha site from both national and international parties.

"We've already had a very serious inquiry which we weren't expecting at this stage," says Evans of one particular approach received.

"We'd like to identify who it is in the normal course of events.

"A lot of major developers we know and work with, some with Australian household names, have also been in touch."

Evans indicated that contact has also been made by at least one Australian group with the financial clout to take on the entire project.

"Even though very few people in Australia have the capacity for this deal, this is one of them," he says.

"The reaction we've had from the groups we know has been positive. Some of them still have to understand what they will become involved with."

The proposed land sale has been engineered by Global Enterprise Management Solutions, a company headed by former Sydney architect Rob Machon and former stockbroker Wayne Cummins.

They have managed to convince 40 landowners to pool 248 lots of cane land on the Gold Coast's northern fringe for sale to a single buyer.

The move comes after years of declining revenues from the local sugar industry, which is serviced by the Rocky Point mill at Woongoolba.

The site, on the eastern side of the M1, stretches from Yatala in the north, Pimpama to the south and Jacobs Well to the east and a sale of this scale could make it the largest single land deal by value in Australia.

Evans says plans for the land could encompass a major Orlando-style theme park precinct that could rival Disney's attractions. Other uses include development of a technology hub or a major sporting or equine precinct.

"Everything is on the table," says Evans. "Nobody wants more of the same, because we've got plenty of that. We have to be really smart about what we deliver here."

That includes a proposal put forward by Federal Member for Moncrieff Steven Ciobo for a fast train connecting Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and a possible eastern duplication of the M1.

"There is massive work for the buyer to take on," says Evans. "We won't be seeing holes in the ground in 18 months or two years. This needs foresight and long-term planning."



Author: Nick Nichols





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