GA Group eyes live cat­tle trade

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Lisa Allen

BRUSSELS-BASED Syr­ian busi­ness­man Ghas­san Aboud is ex­pand­ing tourism port­fo­lio fur­ther into the Queens­land’s far north ru­ral ar­eas.

The bil­lion­aire, who made his for­tune from the auto in­dus­try in the Mid­dle East, is also de­vel­op­ing three $100 mil­lion lux­ury ho­tels in Cairns, in­clud­ing a re­de­vel­op­ment of the Bel­lview Mo­tel and Back­pack­ers Lodge, which he bought re­cently for about $12m.

Crys­tal­book Lodge and Crys­tal­brook Sta­tion were ac­quired from Port Dou­glas busi­ness­man John Mor­ris and rep­re­sent a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of Mr Aboud’s plans to build a hos­pi­tal­ity port­fo­lio in the far north.

The Crys­tal­brook Lodge, about 220km west of Cairns, fea­tures five suites and charges $1800 per room per night, all in­clu­sive.

The lake in the cen­tre of the prop­erty is stocked with about 4000 bar­ra­mundi. Apart from two home­steads, Crys­tal­brook Sta­tion has 2000 bran­gus cat­tle, a cross be­tween an­gus and brah­mans, a 1000m airstrip, a four-bed­room work­ers’ quar­ters and 50 dams.

Sources said Mr Aboud paid more than $3m for the re­sort and cat­tle prop­erty.

Mr Aboud would not com­ment on the pur­chase price of the Crys­tal­brook prop­erty but said he had ini­tially com­mit­ted mil­lions of dol­lars to es­tab­lish a live cat­tle ex­port busi­ness. “This year I will in­vest $25m and I will see how I will go,” he said.

Apart from the Bel­lview Mo­tel and Back­pack­ers devel­op­ment, Mr Aboud is also adding 70 rooms to the Ry­dges Tradewinds ho­tel, bring­ing it up to 320 rooms in an­other $100m devel­op­ment.

Across the road from the Bel­lview Mo­tel on a site in Aplin Street and Ab­bott Street he is plan­ning a two-tower apart­ment and ho­tel pro­ject of about four stars on a 4000sq m site.

De­sign plans for the GA Group's pro­posed ho­tel at 163 Ab­bott St, Cairns

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