Aboud eyes Marina
SYRIAN billionaire Ghassan Aboud is believed to be close to announcing plans for a major new resort at the Reef Marina.
Rumours about a possible new development at the Reef Marina have been circulating for some time, with prominent businessman John Morris also believed to be a key figure in the deal.
The two businessmen are well known to each other.
Nearly two years ago the 49-year-old Syrian expat bought Mr Morris’s Crystalbrook cattle station and upmarket resort and his cruiser MV Bahama, based in Port Douglas.
Since then he had has lit up the property scene in Cairns with swift progress on three new hotel developments, badged as the Crystalbrook Collection and worth more than $370 million.
The Gazette has seen a letter to the CEO of Mr Aboud’s GA Group Australia in Cairns, Mark Davie, from the mayor of Port Douglas, Julia Leu.
The letter, dated June 14, 2017, is headed “Re: GA Group – Potential Investment in Port Douglas”.
In the letter, the mayor says, “I refer to our recent meeting with the Prime Group” – the Cairns construction company working on GA Group’s hotel projects – “who detailed the interest of GA Group in invest-
-ing in a Hotel Development within The Reef Marina Precinct. I wish to thank you for the meeting and the opportunity to hear about your company’s plans.
“My Council welcomes investment interest in our Shire and we look forward to working positively with you on your proposed projects,” the mayor said.
“We have watched your commitment to progressing your projects in Cairns with great interest.”
The letter goes on: “As we explained to your representatives at our meeting, we do consider ourselves as the guardians of a very special part of the world in Douglas Shire, and again respectfully take this opportunity to highlight the priority that we give to environmental and appropriate design outcomes in all planning applications.
“An investment of this scale in Port Douglas is of great interest to Douglas Shire Council and we look forward to receiving your proposal.”
Mr Aboud, who studied journalism and runs his own media group, appears to have made a considerable fortune from his Dubai-based Aboud Car Group, claimed to be the “world’s leading exporter of cars”.
Mr Morris sold his equity share in the $380 million Mt Emerald more than a year ago and since then has done his Crystalbrook deal with Mr Aboud and pushed ahead with developing his Choo Choo’s precinct at St Crispin’s, where the first wedding at the café was held recently.
He has also bought the former Hog’s Breath restaurant premises at the Bally Hooley terminus at the Marina, with plans to turn it into anothery eatery with Choo Choo’s branding.
An investment of this scale in Port Douglas is of great interest to Douglas Shire Council
Mayor Julia Leu