The Courier-Mail

WHICH BRISBANE DEVELOPER COULD STOCKLAND BUY?

- WITH ANTHONY MARX

METRO STOCKS UP IS property giant Stockland looking to gobble up Brisbane’s galloping Metro Property Developmen­t?

City Beat wouldn’t be surprised since Stockland has quietly tipped a bucket load of money into Metro’s $170 million Newstead Towers project, now under constructi­on.

It’s understood that the co-investment will be the first of many Metro projects for Stockland, which hopes to ramp up its exposure in the booming unit sector to take on some of its rivals.

Just last week Stockland boss Mark Steinert predicted that the Brisbane market “will probably show the strongest growth in the next few years’’ as Sydney and Melbourne come off the boil. Metro CEO Luke

Hartman (illustrate­d) declined to comment yesterday. Company co-founder

David Devine, just back from a few weeks of R&R in Las Vegas and New York, also kept quiet.

But property insiders say the tie up makes sense, especially now that uncertaint­y grips global markets.

Metro, of course, pulled the pin on its $170 million IPO at the proverbial eleventh hour back in June and since then has gone to great lengths to say it was the right move.

The decision squandered several million dollars and cost the company access to plenty of working capital.

Yet Metro appears to have hardly missed a beat, with more than 1700 units in its $1.5 billion developmen­t pipeline across the country. CARDNO PLAYED RIGHT CARDNO boss Rich Wankmuller has just splashed out nearly $500,000 for a stack of shares in his infrastruc­ture services group. Despite a plunging market, he appears to have done well out of the deal.

Thanks to Cardno’s rebounding stock price yesterday, he’s already up about $35,000 on paper. You might even call it a happy ending. ACLAND GIFTS QUERY In a move sure to enrage Queensland Resources Council supremo Michael

Roche, green activists hope to use a corruption complaint to derail the controvers­ial Acland Stage 3 coal mine.

Drew

Hutton’s Lock the Gate Alliance said yesterday that it had lodged a complaint with the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission regarding about $1 million of political donations to the Liberal Party made by the mine proponent and its parent company.

Hutton said the issue should be investigat­ed fully before a decision is made on the environmen­tal authority for the project, which is backed by New Hope Corporatio­n and its parent company, Washington H Soul Pattinson.

The donations in the two years to 2014 coincided with a Newman government policy reversal, which saw it shift from opposition to support for a major

expansion. SPREADING LOVE Australian Sex Party head Fiona Patten parachuted in to Brisbane yesterday to cut the ribbon on Lovehoney’s first new office in the country.

The UK-based adult toy firm threw open its doors in the West End, complete with a film crew working on a doco about the fast-growing group.

Lovehoney is now the UK’s biggest sex toy retailer and sells one of every three naughty gadgets bought online there. It also recently won the global licensing award in Las Vegas to flog the “Fifty Shades of Grey Official Pleasure Collection’’.

So, of course, they have come Down Under to spread the love, so to speak.

Your diarist couldn’t help note that the launch party invitation enticed us with the promise of “drinks and canopies’’.

A little shade might be good to keep the drinks cool!

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