More salt in wound

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor - by Martin Rasini martin. rasini@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

THE stalled $ 500 mil­lion Salt­wa­ter pro­ject on Townsv i l l e ’ s Break­wa­ter c o ntin­ues to pull funds from the h i p p o c k e t s o f l o n g - suf­fer­ing buy­ers who are hav­ing to meet fees for bank guar­an­tees used to se­cure apart­ments.

Sally El­liott, whose Smith + El­liott agency mar­keted Salt­wa­ter, said yes­ter­day about 30 Townsville res­i­dents had signed up to buy apart­ments, many of whom were pay­ing the fees while oth­ers had funds locked up in de­posits.

‘ ‘ B u y e r s a r e u n d e r - stand­ably an­gry at hav­ing to pay an­nual or half-yearly costs, or at hav­ing funds tied up, for a pro­ject that has been sig­nif­i­cantly de­layed and now ap­pears un­likely to pro­ceed,’’ she said.

‘‘ At­tempts to elicit in­for­ma­tion as to Re­sort Corp’s i nten­tions f or Salt­wa­ter have been un­suc­cess­ful, adding to the frus­tra­tion.

‘‘ I would like to see Re­sort Corp do the right thing and void con­tracts so buy­ers can put their fi­nances in or­der and move on.’’

Ms El­liott said Townsville res­i­dents had signed up to in­vest about $ 20 mil­lion in Salt­wa­ter apart­ments.

T h e S a l t wat e r p r o j e c t com­prises five build­ings, in­clud­ing a 15-storey tower, shar­ing about 500 apart­ments and a 5000sq m din­ing and re­tail precinct. It stalled when Re­sort Corp en­coun­tered fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and its 22 com­pa­nies were placed un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion in March 2009.

Weeks l a t e r , a d min­is­tra­tor David Clout of Bris­bane’s David Clout and As­so­ciates, or­gan­ised a vote in which cred­i­tors agreed to a deed of ar­range­ment to en­able a sell-off of as­sets.

The deed is un­der­stood to give the Gold Coast com­pany 30 months in which to dis­pose of its as­sets.

Hopes Salt­wa­ter might pro­ceed resur­faced briefly last year af­ter Re­sort Corp’s prin­ci­pals, ar­chi­tect Peter Madr­ers and lawyer Paul Brins­mead, formed an ass o c i a t i o n w i t h I n d i a ’ s P e a r l s I n f r a s t r u c t u r e Group, which was seek­ing in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in Aus­tralia.

They bro­kered Pearls Aus­trala­sia’s pur­chase for $ 62.5 mil­lion of the Gold Coast’s Sher­a­ton Mi­rage prop­erty. cam­paign that drew three re­sponses but did not lead to a sale.

Salt­wa­ter’s 4.96ha site was bought for around $ 50 mil­lion in Oc­to­ber 2006 and re­duced by civil works to around 2.96ha.

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