Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer has announced he will spend $100 million to redevelop his long-neglected Palmer Coolum Resort on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
- The resort shut down in 2015, with Mr Palmer saying refurbishments would be done at the time
- Mr Palmer says he has a “duty of care” to his former electorate as the end of JobKeeper looms
- The resort hosted a single PGA event after Mr Palmer took over, having hosted 10 championships previously
Mr Palmer, who served one term as a local MP on the Coast, says the update will feature “replicas of the Wonders of the World and famous landmarks, including a full-size Trevi Fountain”.
The 300 apartments on the site would be completely refurbished, the village square renovated and seven restaurants would open, he wrote in a statement.
Mr Palmer said 100 workers were already onsite as part of the revamp and that another 100 would be added before June.
“The resort will be returned to beyond its former glory, stimulating jobs and economic growth for the region,” he said.
Mr Palmer said the site would open in the second half of 2022.
The Palmer Coolum Resort in March 2020. The resort was bought by Clive Palmer in 2012, leading to a long-running dispute with private villa owners.(ABC News: Chris Gillette
In the rough
The world-renowned golf course of the former Hyatt-Coolum was the home of 11 Australian PGA Championships.
The PGA was held once at the site after Clive Palmer took over as owner in 2011, before it was relocated to the Gold Coast.
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With Mr Palmer at the helm, a giant dinosaur replica was erected between the ninth and 10th holes, and advertising banners for his “Titanic II” project appeared throughout the course during the 2012 event.
The resort sacked 40 staff and locked the gates to the resort in 2015, with Mr Palmer claiming the accommodation and conference centres were closed for renovations.
Late last year, Mr Palmer offered a $20 million settlement deal as part of a eight-year dispute with villa owners on the site.
Investors accused Mr Palmer of locking them out of the resort and golf course, leaving them unable to sell.
Golfers walk past a giant replica dinosaur on the Australian PGA course on December 11, 2012.(AAP: Dave Hunt
Will it happen?
Coolum Residents Association president Ray Barber said he believed the refurbishment of the resort was already well underway.
“We’ve seen a lot of activity going in and out of the resort and we believe that it’s happening,” he said.
Mr Barber said residents had long supported the low-rise five star resort.
“The people of Coolum miss the Hyatt desperately now that it’s shut, and we missed the 600 jobs that it created at its height.
“We miss pizzas in the village square on a Friday night and the entertainment that they had there.
“So we really look forward to Mr Palmer restoring that in the works that he’s just announced recently.”
Mr Palmer says a replica of the Rome’s Trevi Fountain will be included in the revamp.(Reuters: Alberto Lingria
Mr Barber said while he supported the resort reopening, a replica Trevi Fountain would not be to his personal taste.
“I think they are part of Mr Palmer’s peccadillos,” he said.
“I shan’t be paying money to go and look at the Trevi Fountain.
“But I’ll certainly go and have a beer and a pizza in the village square.”
Mr Palmer said in his statement that he had a “duty of care” to his former electorate.
“The Sunshine Coast has suffered due to the massive turndown in tourism over the past 12 months and will face further economic hardships once the JobKeeper program finishes,” he said.
“This project will provide much needed economic stimulus during construction and into the future as a major visitor drawcard for the region.”
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