VIDEO | Developer’s assurance $300m resort to proceed

DEVELOPMENT

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Take a virtual walk through of the planned $300 million luxury resort in Port Douglas. Video: Supplied.
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The developer of an exclusive $300 million luxury resort on the former Havana resort project has provided assurance that the development will definitely proceed and there are enough funds to start and complete the project.

The proposed 253-room resort is a hotel management deal with Accor. It will also be a part of Fairmount Hotels and Resorts, a world-wide brand.

To add to the glamour of this project, which many believe is the biggest development since Christopher Skase made his presence felt in the 1980s, renowned television host Jamie Durie will landscape the project.

The Havana project, situated between Oaks Hotels and Resorts and the Mirage Country Club, did not get off the ground as the developers were unable to raise the required $132 million. The land has sat empty for more than 15 years.


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In an extensive interview with Newsport, developer Paul Chiodo, of Chiodo Corporation, revealed that his company has already invested close to $20,000,000 on the project.

“We are certainly committed to proceeding with this project. We are also pleased that we have the full support of state government bodies in regards to the resort,” he said.

i) Have any changes been made to what was previously announced?

No. Fairmont Port Douglas will boast 253 glamorous rooms, several restaurants and bars, a decadent day spa, a treetop walk and panoramic conference and wedding facilities, all designed around resort-style pools and built to blend seamlessly with nature. From the organic architecture to copious green spaces and natural light, the resort brings nature close, with butterfly nets above the children's swimming pool, an intimate lobby inspired by birds' nests and verdant tropical gardens.

ii) There is speculation in the town whether this development will proceed. This is driven by the said land sitting empty for a number of years, with proposed development falling through. Can you provide an assurance that this development will happen?

The land sat dormant for several years prior to our acquisition due to the collapse (GFC) in 2008. As you are aware, Port Douglas suffered significantly in that period. The previous owners of the land were granted Development Approval for a 253-room hotel which was going to be run as a Hilton Hotel. That particular Development Approval is still current. We settled the site in November 2019 as the new owners and went immediately straight to work to develop the best resort in Australia. We submitted a new development application in 2020 with necessary changes in order to meet the superior requirements of an Accor Fairmont (Australia’s first Fairmont Resort). To Date, we have already invested close to $20,000,000 on this project, thus - we are certainly committed to this proceeding with this project. We are also pleased that we have full support of state government bodies in regards to this resort. We are a well financial Development Fund with a range of Projects on the go and are keen to start the Project as soon as we obtain the DA from council. You can be assured that we have enough funds to start and complete the project.

vi) Why do you think the town should embrace this development? How do you think it will enhance Port Douglas?

We need to keep in mind that the site already has current approval for a 253-room resort. In essence, our team has submitted a more luxurious, up-to-date design which fits the requirements for a Fairmont. There are certain guidelines and a particular level of standard that is required in order to operate a Fairmont and we are following these guidelines to give Port Douglas one of the best accommodation options in Australia. We are a group that didn't want to develop another 3-4 star hotel as per the current DA. We want to deliver and Port Douglas deserves the Best International Luxury Hotel the town can be proud of. This type of hotel will drive up the economy to the local community as well as wages and opportunity for locals to have a career path within the organisation.

We as a Group are working with tourist and community groups in Port Douglas which we are seeking where we can assist in their progress and business for further tourism opportunities when the hotel is opened. We want all of the local business to flourish from our investment and belief in the great Port Douglas and its community.

We understand there is a percentage of people who do not want to see new development and there is also a large majority who do want to see new development. This project will give Port Douglas the economic boost that it desperately requires, being the first Hotel / Resort of this calibre in over 20 years. It will bring numerous amounts of jobs not only in the construction industry but also in hospitality. This Fairmont Resort will put Port Douglas back on the map. Our vision is to deliver an environmental hotel that still encapsulates the hallmarks of a luxury hotel. We also have an engagement with the indigenous community via an economic agreement that will cater for hotel employment and seeing artwork within the hotel. Along with this, the indigenous community will perform welcome ceremonies for guests. 

vii) Have you had any conversations with Mayor Michael Kerr about the project?

We had an information session via Zoom meeting with Michael (Kerr) to introduce him to our aspiration in bringing an International 5 Star luxury Hotel to the Town and to amend the current 3-4 Star hotel DA to suit this world class hotel from the Accor Group. 


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