Pool buyer says he got a bargain
A Melbourne-based businessman, Paul Huggins, has bought most of the Pool Resort in Port Douglas, and the management rights – and can’t believe his luck.
“If I could find another one this minute I’d buy it,” Mr Huggins told the “It’s a no brainer.”
Mr Huggins, who has built an empire on a financial advice business which has a property development and investment arm, now owns 25 apartments in Pool.
Mr Huggins was a lawyer with Lend Lease back in the early ’90s and then moved into financial services, starting up his company, Momentum Wealth Management which now has about $2 billion under management.
About 20 years ago he set up a property arm which has done many small and medium developments, mostly in Melbourne, including lately “a lot of high rise”, with $450 million of work underway.
His Momentum International Resort, part of his property division, has bought the apartments in Pool.
The resort was completed in 2006, just in time for the global financial crisis and since then it has suffered.
About 18 months ago the receivers of Pool released several lines of apartments to the market.
Mr Huggins bought one in the first line of sale, “just to put my toe in the water. I knew a lot about that particular asset. I put it in my super fund and over time I thought that’s interesting, it’s done quite well. It’s a terrific resort that has done extremely well for cashflow and so forth.
“I got involved with a lot of parties up there and knew that the receivers were offloading the assets and I wondered if I could turn this asset around and make it work.
“I thought, it’s a 12-cylinder engine running on seven cylinders. It’s a jewel,” he said.
“I thought if I bought the management rights I could make it so this thing is fully booked out 60 per cent of the time. Because there was nothing built up there for a long time.
“The plans, the architecture, it’s as good as anything that’s been built in Melbourne and Sydney.
“And the quality of the asset, and the pool – which needs a bit of a work – it was a no-brainer to me.
“With the kind of money the receivers were talking about, I thought this can be turned around in six to eight months.”
Mr Huggins said the resort had been burdened by the stig-
Resort in Port Douglas: New owner and management