Written on the 26 June 2014 by Nick Nichols

BRISBANE real estate identity Peter Huang has put the feelers out for a strategic partner to help him achieve his goal of bringing the long-dormant Kooralbyn Resort back to life.

Huang, who bought the resort last year for an undisclosed sum, says a fully developed Kooralbyn could have an end value of $1 billion.

He has mapped out an initial $10 million five-stage renovation plan for the property which was developed more than 40 years ago and for many years was a playground for the rich and famous.

Huang settled the deal for Kooralbyn this month and says he has been approached by a number of parties seeking to buy hum out.

“We have said no to this because we want to continue to be part of this resort,” Huang tells Gold Coast Business News.

Huang says while he could make a quick profit on the property, he says he is determined to see through the redevelopment of the resort with the help of a strategic partner.

“We’ve got quite a few people showing expressions of interest,” he says.

Huang also says he has been approached by a number of schools and colleges looking to buy or lease the former international school on the site.

“A decision could be made soon on this,” he says.

Kooralbyn Resort has lain dormant for more than six years following the collapse of former owner MFS Ltd.

Huang bought the property from Asset Resolution Group, which had acquired it from Wellington Caopital’s Premium Income Fund as part of a $91 million mortgage portfolio buyout.

Previous attempts by receivers to sell the property have failed, including an abandoned deal for $25 million in 2011, leading to discontent from the local community over the fate of the property and its effect on local property prices.

Huang, founder of Yong Real Estate, says he has had positive response from locals for his plans for the resort which will initially comprise a $10 million refurbishment.

Huang concedes that securing bank support for the restoration of the property has been “hugely challenging” which is why he has chosen to find an equity partner to progress his plans.

“We have enough equity, and we have some very big plans to make this an eco-tourism retreat,” says Huang.

The plans include an extension of the resort hotel from 100 rooms to more than 300, kicking off by reopening the local pub at the resort within the next two months.

Huang says that, when completed, the resort will feature a suite of lifestyle experiences including hot-water springs, a weight-loss retreat offering tai chi and yoga classes, a Garden of Eden that will include a vineyard, and a mini zoo for children.

The resort, which is expected to trade under the Ramada banner, is also poised to revive its tradition in polo with a tournament planned for September.

Apart from its famed golfing facilities, Huang says Kooralbyn plans to host a range of sporting activities including basketball, volleyball and cricket, and extreme activities such as skydiving.

“We want to make it a unique experience,” says Huang.

He says he would like to have the first stage of the refurbishment completed by Christmas, but that would depend on how long it takes to bed down an equity partner.
Author: Nick Nichols





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