With investment plans to the tune of $1 billion, premium hospitality brand, Crystalbrook Collection, is rapidly expanding its portfolio of assets under management, with an initial focus on Australia.

Crystalbrook Collection is owned by Dubai-headquartered conglomerate, the Ghassan Aboud Group, which is also engaged in automotive, real estate, retail, media, logistics and pastoral businesses. Established in early 2016, Crystalbrook Collection expands the Ghassan Aboud Group’s interest in the hotel industry, property and tourism sectors. Now, Australia’s buoyant economy and strong tourism sector make it an excellent destination to begin operations for the hospitality arm of the business.

Commenting on the rationale behind starting with Australia, Ghassan Aboud – promoter and Chairman of the group – said “Australia has a very strong economy and other strong markets around it, such as Japan, China, Malaysia and Indonesia. It’s also a stable market for the hospitality sector. Initially we studied Europe but, in the end, we opted for Australia.”

Crystalbrook Collection’s hospitality portfolio includes an impressive collection of assets: Crystalbrook Hotel Riley in Cairns (opened November 2018); Little Albion in Sydney (operational); Crystalbrook Lodge; Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina; and MV Bahama, a luxury 90-foot motor vessel berthed in Port Douglas, Queensland. Two more properties in Cairns – Bailey and Flynn – are scheduled to open in 2019.

Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina is Queensland’s northernmost marina and one of Australia’s premier nautical destinations. Located in Port Douglas, Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Visitors come from all over the world to experience the renowned and pristine northern reef, the wonders of the Coral Sea, the Daintree Rainforest, local Indigenous history and culture, and lush tropical Far North Queensland. Crystalbrook has revealed the designs of its trophy asset at Port Douglas, which include a multi-use hotel, marina, F&B and entertainment complex. The marina is already operational, alongside associated retail components.

As part of the expansion plans, the company recently acquired the City Administration Centre in Newcastle.  Crystalbrook plans to convert the building into a 5-star hotel named “Kingsley”. Crystalbrook Collection CEO Mark Davie said “The structure as you look at it now is not going to vastly. It’s a beautiful structure, and we love it. As far as we’re concerned, we can only improve upon it.”

Having made a significant impact in the landscape of Australia’s hospitality industry, Crystalbrook is in growth mode, with ambitions to expand even further globally in the coming years.

Source: Forbes Middle East

Crystalbrook Collection Hotels and Resorts has today unveiled the first much-awaited image of their proposed development at Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Port Douglas.

The release of the image coincided with the owner of Crystalbrook Collection, Ghassan Aboud, travelling to the idyllic coastal town to hold meetings with Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu today.

The image provides a preview of a luxury 100-room five-star hotel and a 30-room ultra-lux hotel. Also included in the development is a destination Eléme Day Spa, a signature panoramic bar and café, 15 apartments and five waterfront villas.

The location of the development is to the right of the existing marina, enabling marina and retail operations to continue throughout construction.

While visiting Port Douglas, Mr Aboud said that he was very happy with how plans for the development were progressing: “Our CEO Mark Davie and his team have been working on these plans for some time now. I had a very positive meeting with the Council today and we are confident we will be able to deliver a great outcome for the community, the Council, visitors and for Crystalbrook Collection.”

Following today’s meeting, Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said: “It was fantastic to have such a productive and positive meeting with Ghassan Aboud and his team. They have a really exciting vision for the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina that has the potential to revitalise Port Douglas and stimulate the local economy. We are particularly happy with their decision to support marina businesses during construction and create a vibrant area for the public.  The initial concept designs have my full support and we can’t wait for the formal development application to be lodged.”

Crystalbrook Collection said they intended to lodge the Development Application (DA) in the coming two – three months.  The commencement of construction would depend on when approvals are received.

THE first six-star hotel in the Far North is earmarked for Port Douglas.

Crystalbrook Collection is poised to unveil plans to build luxurious six and five-star hotels at the Port Douglas marina in a private meeting with Douglas Shire Council.

Crystalbrook chief executive Mark Davie said the company’s billionaire owner, Ghassan Aboud, was reviewing three architectural concepts in preparation for a formal offer to council in January.

All three proposals involve building a 30-room six-star hotel and a 100-room five-star hotel along the Dicksons Inlet waterfront.

Mr Davie said Mayor Julia Leu and council CEO Mark Stoermer would be privy to the initial concept of the $200 million investment in the coming weeks, with a view to promptly moving to the development application process.

“From my discussions, there is sense of strong support from council and a motivation to process the application as quickly as possible,” he said.

“Right now there is an opportunity for everybody to get behind this project, which will be an absolute game-changer for Port Douglas.

“It’s on our desk to move ahead. It’s budgeted for and construction is set to begin in 2020.”

Crucially, none of the plans will affect the retail trade and tourism sector already established at the marina – a major sticking point in the original DA which stalled in April.

Mr Davie said that, if given the green light, they would demolish the Dicksons Inlet facing elbow in the first half of 2019.

“At this stage there are no hold-ups. We are at the point where we will make a decision on what we are willing to build and invest in,” he said.

“We are talking about a $200 million project at least, so obviously this is a very important financial decision for our company.”

Crystalbrook has just opened the first of three hotel developments in Cairns worth in excess of $350 million.

Its Port Douglas development would target high-end travellers who are bypassing Australia for Asia, Mr Davie said. “If Port Douglas really wants to be a tourist destination in the future, then it needs to invest heavily in the hotel infrastructure in that town,” he said.

“We are mindful there has been minimal investment in Port Douglas since the days of the Sheraton.

“We are finding visitors to Port Douglas are seeking alternative locations, so I think we need to fight hard to offer them a product to attract them to our region.”

Mayor Julia Leu said she was encouraged to hear Crystalbrook was keen to work with the council through the process.

“Douglas Shire Council continues to work closely with the applicants and looks forward to maintaining a strong relationship when a new development application is lodged,” she said in a statement.

Source: https://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/crystalbrook-owner-ghassan-aboud-unveils-next-wave-of-projects-for-port-douglas/

PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

DOUGLAS Shire Mayor Julia Leu says she’s ‘extremely confident’ the $200 million marina redevelopment will go ahead despite the developer pulling its application.

The decision by Crystalbrook Collection to rethink plans was an opportunity to ‘revisit and refine’ the development, according to Cr Leu.

She confirmed her Council had a number of concerns with the development application, including the architectural style of the building, which they sought clarification on in January.

Developers have since advised council of their decision to ice the project after holding talks with a host of tourist operators, marina tenants and industry experts, it has been revealed.

The news comes after a number of businesses, including the iconic On The Inlet seafood restaurant, ended their lease agreements at the marina as a result of the anticipated waterfront transformation.

“I am extremely confident and Crystalbrook Collection has shown a huge commitment to Far North Queensland,” Mayor Leu told Newsport today.

“Port Douglas is a thriving, internationally-renowned tourist destination that can benefit from thoroughly planned investment like this.”

Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud’s company had lodged plans for a 130-room luxury hotel, 45 villas, nine apartments and a waterfront dining and retail precinct.

Council’s other concerns involved pedestrian access, project staging, and how existing operators at the marina, such as Hemingway’s Brewery, Lure and Barbados, could continue to operate without disruption once construction began.

Despite the project stalling, Cr Leu said she expected Crystalbrook to lodge another development application.

“I have spoken to the applicants and I am encouraged by their firm commitment to the marina precinct,” she said.

“This is a forward-thinking opportunity to revisit and refine a landmark development that has the ability to revitalise Port Douglas.

“Douglas Shire Council has worked closely with the applicants and look forward to maintaining a strong relationship when a new development application is lodged.”

She added the community encouraged ‘rigorous investment’ that ‘compliments the region’s unique tropical character.’

Crystalbrook Collection say they are still fully committed to the project and will work with key partners over the coming months ‘to revisit the enhanced marina experience’.

“We anticipate it will be business as usual for the next 18 months at the marina as feasibility studies are undertaken,” a spokesperson said.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2018/april/marina-redevelopment-still-expected-to-go-ahead-despite-delays/

The design for the redevelopment of The Reef Marina has focused on public space and amenity, incorporating a microcosm of the broader Far North Queensland environment with elements like the ‘Rainforest Walk’ which will create a unique sense of place for visitors and residents alike.

This article in the Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette talks about the various features which will encourage public engagement with and in The Reef Marina.

THE Douglas Shire Council’s decision to grant conditional approval for the $85 million Reef Marina waterfront transformation has paved the way for future investment in the shire.

Described by Mayor Julia Leu as “a historic moment and one which is timely”, this is the most significant development in the shire since the 1980s when the flamboyant and later fugitive Christopher Skase emerged on the scene and built the Sheraton Mirage which transformed the Far North Queensland tourism industry.

“Council’s development approval not only ensures public access to our Waterfront is maintained and enhanced, but also gives confidence to other local businesses that they can invest in the Douglas Shire and work with Council to achieve a positive outcome that benefits investors and our communities.

“The redevelopment of The Reef Marina will also, not only revitalise the Port Douglas Waterfront, but provide significant opportunities for local tradesmen and businesses to become involved in the redevelopment which will transform our marina into a world-class facility deserving of its magnificent location,” said Mayor Leu.

Co-owner of the Reef Marina, Andrew Hooper-Nguyen, said work would be carried out in stages with the southern section of The Boardwalk, The Rainforest and 19 of the 85 luxury waterfront townhouses and apartments, to be completed first.

“The development is expected to generate employment for about 320 people and create a further 300 indirect jobs during the construction period.

“In addition to boosting employment in the shire by about 5.8 per cent, Gross Regional Product is forecast to increase by 4.4 per cent. The project’s contribution over 30 years is calculated to have a nett present value of $588 million (Cummings Economics),” he said.

Hooper-Nguyen said there is now a great deal of work that needs to be done and he suspects there’ll be no physical activity until sometime in 2018.

“This project is one of the largest investments ever planned in Port Douglas. There are literally thousands of tasks to complete – including detailed engineering design, environmental, traffic, flooding and other studies, and further regulatory approvals – before the real work can commence on site.

“We have a big project team in place and we will push forward as fast as we can. We are also confident that we can work with Council and other stakeholders to satisfy the conditions. Friday’s decision is a significant step in the right direction and we are happy with the result,” he said.

The conditional approval received unanimous support from the mayor and the three councillors, David Carey, Michael Kerr and Roy Zammataro, who were present at the meeting. Absentee councillor Abigail Noli’s voice of support was noted.

The councillors agreed this is an exciting time for the shire; the project is long overdue; the “tired” marina needs an overhaul and it’s encouraging the fishing industry will be sustained.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2017/february/marina-decision-paves-way-for-future-investment-in-douglas-shire/

We’re delighted to announce that Douglas Shire Council has granted development approval for our Port Douglas waterfront renewal project.
The project will regenerate the Dickson Inlet waterfront, providing new levels of amenity for locals and visitors, including a waterfront boardwalk and plaza, shaded pedestrian link between the marina and town centre, new dining and entertainment options and a cruise ship tender berth.
We will be creating a limited number of luxury residences and about 40 additional marina berths.
The commercial fishing industry will benefit from long-term berthing arrangements at a new, dedicated trawler & dory berthing facility at the southern end of the marina basin. We have also committed to continuing slipway operations for at least three years, until alternative facilities can be made available.
The Marina Residences will be Port Douglas’ only absolute waterfront townhouses and apartments (ever!). Stage 1 comprises five 3 bedroom townhouses (think…. generous opening plan living, plunge pool, elevator, rooftop balcony, amazing views and more) and fourteen 1 to 4 bedroom apartments, also with luxury appointments.
Yes, it may be possible to cast for barramundi from the balcony! And imagine the views of the Coral Sea and Daintree from the waterfront pool.
Expressions of interest in The Marina Residences can be submitted on our website or by clicking here.
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Port Douglas, 27th December, 2016 – The Reef Marina is celebrating its third anniversary with over $5 million in achievements –  jobs, super yachts and craft beer.

Chris Ellis, Andrew Hooper-Nguyen and Rob Cruz took over the Port Douglas marina in December 2013, renamed it to reflect its unique position as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and immediately began investing in their vision for the facility to be Australia’s premier marina.  Their goal from the outset has been to transform Port Douglas’ waterfront into a vibrant community, entertainment and residential precinct providing first class facilities and service to boating clients and quality dining, entertainment and shopping experiences for Port Douglas residents and visitors.

“Port Douglas is one of the most beautiful places in the world and we feel honoured to be here and be part of its story now and into the future,” Mr Cruz said.

So far, more than $5 million has been spent refurbishing the retail space and expanding the marina by 30 new berths, including the new Superyacht Hub.

“This investment has allowed The Reef Marina to attract new world-class tenants, including Hemingway’s Brewery and Barbados Port Douglas,” he added.

Hemingway’s microbrewery, bar and restaurant opened mid-year with a range of specially crafted beers reflecting Port Douglas’ unique character and its rich and colourful past, while Barbados Port Douglas embodies the charm of tropical living with a sophisticated setting, creative cocktails and a view over Dickson Inlet that is unrivalled.  The Reef Marina’s investment has also encouraged existing customers such as the Quicksilver Group, Port Douglas’ largest tour operator, to further extend its 30-year presence at the Marina with a new long-term lease agreement finalised this month.

Upgrading the 3866 square metres of retail area, including the slipway and ramp, has stimulated capital expenditure in the order of $11.7 million, including fit-outs, equipment and marketing.

By the time The Reef Marina’s fifth birthday rolls around in 2018, its owners hope the proposed $85 million redevelopment of the Port Douglas waterfront will be well underway.

The work is expected to generate more than 600 jobs during the two-year construction period and around 240 permanent jobs, a 4.4% boost to the regional economy and a $588 million economic contribution over 30 years, according to figures from Cummings Economics.

Once complete, it will offer luxury waterfront living including 85 luxury residences with almost 200 rooms for holidaymakers and permanent residents, as well as shaded pedestrian links connecting the town centre with The Reef Marina, timber waterfront boardwalk, outdoor entertainment spaces, community areas and public art.

The Reef Marina $85 million redevelopment proposal for the Port Douglas waterfront is expected to generate employment for about 320 people and create a further 300 indirect jobs over the two-year construction period, according to figures from Cummings Economics.

The independent economic impact statement for the proposed redevelopment, also found in addition to boosting employment in the Douglas Shire by about 5.8%, the regional economy would grow by 4.4%.

The projects overall economic contribution was valued at $588 million over 30 years.

The proposed waterfront transformation features 85 luxury residences with almost 200 rooms, increasing Port Douglas holiday and permanent accommodation options.

The project will also offer new waterfront dining and entertainment areas along with an additional 44 marina berths.

The Reef Marina co-owner Andrew Hooper-Nguyen said the raw data was exciting for Port Douglas, not only providing the economic stimulus for jobs and growth during the initial construction phase, but longer term, benefiting the entire community.

Looking forward, this redevelopment has the opportunity to change the future for our children, creating pathways for employment across a number of different sectors from hospitality and retail to tourism and other service related industries, creating around 240 permanent jobs.

Once complete, total expenditure on holiday and residential rentals, commercial space expenditure and increased marina activity is expected to be approximately $48 million annually, Mr Hooper-Nguyen added.

Highlights of the redevelopment include a rainforest walkway to connect the marina to the town centre and a timber boardwalk spanning the entire waterfront.

This will feature public art, shaded seating, viewing stages to make the most of the ports scenic beauty, restaurants, cafes and other retail outlets.

The development application to transform the Port Douglas waterfront into a vibrant community, entertainment and cultural precinct is before the Douglas Shire Council.

An $85 million development application that will continue the transformation of the Port Douglas waterfront into a vibrant community, entertainment and cultural precinct has been lodged with the Douglas Shire Council.

Operators of The Reef Marina said the proposal, to be built in stages, would help connect the town centre to the waterfront, while driving jobs, tourism and economic growth to the tune of almost $600 million over 30 years.

The Reef Marina co-owner Andrew Hooper-Nguyen said it was an important milestone in the continued regeneration of the waterfront, reasserting the region’s reputation as a world-class tourist destination.

“This is the largest proposed investment Port Douglas has seen in almost three decades and will build on our efforts to rejuvenate the Marina, which has already seen a full retail refurbishment, landscaping, new entertainment offerings including Hemingway’s Brewery, The Boat House and Barbados and the super yacht expansion since work began in 2014,” Mr Hooper-Nguyen said.

Highlights of the development include the Rainforest Walk, which will be a heavily landscaped walkway generating strong pedestrian connectivity between the Marina and town centre.

It will be complemented by The Boardwalk, a publicly accessible timber boardwalk spanning the entire waterfront, which will feature public art, seating, shading, viewing stages, restaurants, cafes and other retail outlets.

The grassed area at the southern end of the redevelopment will be transformed into The Green, a showcase venue for live music and events utilising a new architecturally designed pavilion, complete with stage.

“Flexible open spaces will allow for both public and private recreational use for cultural community activities and markets, while the boardwalk along the waterfront will showcase the amazing views and link to surrounding parklands.”

Mr Hooper-Nguyen said at the very heart of the development was the desire to open up and breathe new life into the waterfront in a way that was sensitive to the environment, while holding onto the unique attributes that make Port Douglas so appealing.

“Buildings will be a maximum of three stories – the height of a palm tree – and the architectural form draws on the rich local heritage with simple roof shapes, stepping of structures to relate to the pedestrian scale, gables, window shading, plenty of landscaping and the retention of historical features.

“These include the ornate arches from the northern wing of the existing Marina building, which will be removed as part of the development process, the timber piles along Dickson Inlet and the On The Inlet over-water dining platform and weigh station.”

The Reef Residences will include five townhouses, 49 apartments, 26 dual-key apartments targeting short-stay visitors and space for dining and entertainment.

Stunning ocean and mountain views, a waterfront swimming pool, gym, residents’ lounge, 24-hour reception and concierge service and onsite car parking will be available for residents.

“This development is about creating new residential space, new commercial opportunities and ultimately greater tourism capacity,” Mr Hooper-Nguyen added.

The last stage of the development will offer five flexible units, which can be used as either townhouses, professional office/commercial suites or provide for other uses such as a day spa.

An additional 32 new marina berths and a dedicated cruise ship tender dock will be constructed in conjunction with the development. The Marina’s fishing trawlers will be invited to berth at new facilities within the Duck Pond and be able to sell seafood directly to the public.

The Slipway does not form part of this development application and operations will not be impacted.