Tech mogul buys Or­pheus Re­sort

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor - by Tony Rag­gatt tony. rag­gatt@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

EX­CLU­SIVE HIDE­AWAY: Or­pheus Is­land Re­sort has a new owner who is un­der­stood to be keen to con­tinue its op­er­a­tion THE founder of Aus­tralian tech­nol­ogy star Com­put­er­share, Chris Morris, is the proud new owner of idyl­lic Great Bar­rier Reef des­ti­na­tion Or­pheus Is­land Re­sort.

Real es­tate agency CB Richard El­lis re­ported on the deal yes­ter­day, ad­mit­ting to some sur­prise at the level of in­ter­est the re­sort at­tracted af­ter a sales cam­paign launched in the mid­dle of last year. The agency did not re­veal the sale price but given the times the re­sort is likely to have been sold at a sub­stan­tial dis­count to val­ues which could have been achieved be­fore the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

A fig­ure around $ 10 mil­lion had been quoted last year.

Mr Morris, who founded Com­put­er­share in 1978, is un­der­stood to be look­ing to con­tinue to op­er­ate the re­sort and make sub­stan­tial im­prove­ments, in­clud­ing work­ing with in­dige­nous groups to pro­mote Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture.

The re­sort prop­erty, about 80km north­east of Townsville, com­prises 10ha of a 1368 ha Na­tional Park is­land.

The re­sort in­cludes 21 water­front guest rooms, fully li­censed bar and restau­rant, gym­na­sium, ten­nis court, two swim­ming pools and guest fa­cil­i­ties.

Strictly lim­ited to 42 pam­pered guests, Or­pheus is a so­phis­ti­cated re­treat of­fer­ing pre­mium ser­vice, fine cui­sine and to­tal seclu­sion with rates start­ing around $ 800 per per­son per night.

Part of the Palm Is­land Group, the re­sort is on the shel­tered side of the is­land and boasts fan­tas­tic snor­kel­ing and dive l oca­tions nearby.

C B Richard El­lis’s Paul Ny­holt said the in­quiry level for the re­sort was very strong with about 150 calls.

‘‘ Given the mar­ket con­di­tions, we were sur­prised by the level of in­ter­est,’’ he said.

‘‘ It’s cer­tainly been dif­fi­cult times in the last 12 months or so, es­pe­cially for these types of prop­er­ties.’’

Mr Ny­holt said bou­tiquestyle re­sorts like Or­pheus had been able to weather the times bet­ter than larger prop­er­ties be­cause t hey were more efficient and could con­trol costs bet­ter.

He said Mr Morris planned to con­tinue the re­sort.

‘‘ The new own­ers in­ten­tion for this re­sort is to keep it op­er­at­ing as a re­sort prop­erty and make im­prove­ments,’’ he said.

Mr Morris could not be con­tacted for com­ment yes­ter­day but it seems he now has more time on his hands.

Founder and for­mer chair­man of Com­put­er­share, he s t epped down f r om his ex­ec­u­tive role late last year.

Mr Morris ac­quired Perth’s Royal on the Water­front pub and the Colo­nial Brew­ing Com­pany in 2008.

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