Clive Palmer buys Port Douglas resort and golf course for $7 million
BILLIONAIRE miner Clive Palmer has bought the Sea Temple Golf and Country Club at Port Douglas for about $7 million.
He told The Cairns Post he made the "unconditional" deal last Friday after making an aerial inspection by helicopter on Thursday.
It is his first investment in the Far North and at Port Douglas.
Sea Temple golf was owned by the Juniper Group and has been on the market for a year. Mr Palmer said at this stage he was unlikely to buy any more properties in the Far North.
The deal includes the award-winning 18-hole golf course, of 6125m, par 71 and designed by Thomson, Wolveridge and Perret, a housing estate development with 45 premium home sites fronting the golf course, averaging 820sq m and existing development approval for an additional 10 fairway lots, averaging 1333sqm.
"I like golf courses but I am not a very good golfer," Mr Palmer said.
He said he had no immediate plans for the golf course and the surrounding residential land.
"I haven't decided but I am happy for it to continue as a golf course."
Mr Palmer said he had personally bought the course, not his company which owns three other courses on the Sunshine and Gold coasts
Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce president Phoebe Kitto said it was the best news for the seaside resort town.
"It's the sign of greater things to come," she said.
"It comes after a good season and the eclipse is looking good. There's a real good positive feel and businesses are feverishly working together."
Ms Kitto said it was now up to the Cairns Regional Council to back up private investment in town with the Port Douglas waterfront plan as soon as possible.
CBRE Hotels Queensland director Wayne Bunz, who negotiated the deal, said the contract was unconditional with settlement in 30 days.
He said it was an "astute investment" by Mr Palmer.
"Clive Palmer does not overpay for anything. He has seen the incredible value in the future," Mr Bunz said.
"It's proved to be a very smart investment," he said.
"He's paid substantially below replacement value. Clive Palmer has always had a good eye for good assets," he said.
Mr Bunz said golf courses usually cost $1 million a hole plus the cost of land.
"This is a huge boost for Port Douglas," he said.
Mr Bunz said Mr Palmer had recognised the value of tourism properties in north Queensland which boded well for the region's future.
"In the next 12 to 18 months I see an increase in transactions in north Queensland," he said.
Mr Bunz said he believed the region's economy had reached the bottom.
Tourism pioneer John Morris, who developed the course in the late 1990s, said he was "delighted" that Mr Palmer was the new owner.
"It is a great result and as I understand he has no plans to develop the golf range," he said.
Mr Morris said Mr Palmer was buying a course that was in "great shape".
"It's an excellent buy it's forward thinking," he said.
Mr Morris said it would be impossible to buy the land and build an 18-hole course for the money Mr Palmer paid.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland's Far Northern chairman Brett Moller said it was "a positive sign for our future".
"Port Douglas as a destination certainly needs investment like this and Clive Palmer is a significant property and development investor,'' he said.
It is understood other interest in the golf course included Sheraton Mirage owner David Marriner, who considered buying the course to amalgamate with the resort's links, a Far North syndicate and Chinese investors.
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Bargain buy: Billionare miner Clive Palmer has bought the Sea Temple Golf and Country Club at Port Douglas for about $7 million.