First sod turned at ONE Whit­sun­days Re­sort

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

YES­TER­DAY marked a mile­stone in the on­go­ing de­vel­op­ment of Air­lie Beach with the turn­ing of the first sod at the new ‘ONE Whit­sun­days’ re­sort.

Sit­u­ated on the site at Shin­g­ley Beach pre­vi­ously ear­marked for de­vel­op­ment by so­cialite and model Ivana Trump, the $70mil­lion five star re­sort and spa will in­clude 75 strata ti­tled apart­ments, six pre­mium pent­houses, a three-tiered trop­i­cal la­goon pool, a pre­mium day spa, com­plete gym­na­sium, high qual­ity restau­rant, and Air­lie’s largest con­fer­ence cen­tre – all with spec­tac­u­lar water­front views.

The project is the brain­child of ONE Whit­sun­days CEO John Zap­pia, who be­came in­volved in 2006 at the re-de­sign stage.

Mr Zap­pia said the orig­i­nal de­vel­op­ment was a 42-apart­ment “su­per lux­ury” re­sort, which didn’t get off the ground, due in part to the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis (GFC).

In 2007 a new de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion was ap­proved for what Mr Zap­pia de­scribed as more of a “fam­ily-ori­ented re­sort at­tract­ing cor­po­rates to bring their fam­i­lies in”.

“And that’s re­ally what drove us to where we are to­day,” he said.

Mr Zap­pia and the ONE Whit­sun­days team had sur­vived the GFC with their re-de­fined prod­uct and this week de­cided “now’s the ap­pro­pri­ate time” for con­struc­tion to of­fi­cially start.

De­scrib­ing him­self as “over the moon” at yes­ter­day’s sod-turn­ing ce- re­mony, at­tended by lo­cal and na­tional me­dia alike, Mr Zap­pia said the fu­ture was bright for the town­ship of Air­lie Beach.

“We’re fo­cus­ing on grow­ing this precinct along with Abell Point Ma­rina, where Paul [Dar­rouzet has] done a fan­tas­tic job, and we’re go­ing to be work­ing closely to­gether on mak­ing that precinct a very nice place to be,” he said.

Mr Zap­pia said it would take about three to six months for the site to be lev­elled and build­ing to phys­i­cally start.

“And dur­ing this pe­riod the mar­ket­ing strat­egy will go into full swing and hope­fully gen­er­ate sales,” he said.

Ray White Whit­sun­day Prin­ci­pal Mark Beale, whose company will be lead­ing that mar­ket­ing charge, said this was a sig­nif­i­cant step in the prop­erty mar­ket of the Whit­sun­days.

“Noth­ing has been built off the plan since the GFC, or cer­tainly [not] in the last five years, [and] we be­lieve that the time is right, that there will be a buyer’s ap­petite for the prod­uct and the ben­e­fits of the com­plex, with its con­fer­ence fa­cil­i­ties, will be huge for all lo­cal busi­nesses and the com­mu­nity,” he said.

Whit­sun­day Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney agreed the ONE Whit­sun­days re­sort was another ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ment for the rejuvenated town­ship of Air­lie Beach.

“I un­der­stand the de­vel­op­ment will in­clude a 300-per­son con­fer­ence cen­tre for large scale events, the first of its kind in Air­lie Beach. This will mean the ONE Whit­sun­days Re­sort will be a great at­trac­tion for the cor­po­rate mar­ket as well as the tourism mar­ket,” she said.

Whit­sun­days Mar­ket­ing and De­vel­op­ment (WMDL) Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Jeff Aquilina, con­grat­u­lated the team be­hind the ONE Whit­sun­days re­sort.

“We con­tinue to see a strong in­crease in vis­i­tor num­bers to the Whit­sun­days and de­vel­op­ments like th­ese are key to gen­er­ate fur­ther growth for the Whit­sun­days to achieve our 2020 goals,” he said.

“We have got a bright fu­ture ahead of us and I am ex­cited to see this new de­vel­op­ment come to life.”

ONE Whit­sun­days are cur­rently in ne­go­ti­a­tions with two pre­mium brands to man­age to re­sort.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the project con­tact mar­ket­ing agent Steve Marks on 0423 790 850 or steve.marks@ray­

MILE­STONE MO­MENT: Ray White Whit­sun­day Prin­ci­pal Mark Beale, ONE Whit­sun­days CEO John Zap­pia and Whit­sun­day Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney at yes­ter­day's turn­ing of the sod for the ONE Whit­sun­days re­sort.

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