09/10/2007 - 22:00

Big plans for new Broome resorts

09/10/2007 - 22:00

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Broome’s accommodation sector is basking in the strong market for tourism assets with new resorts opening their doors and several developers preparing to launch significant new projects.

Broome’s accommodation sector is basking in the strong market  for tourism assets with new resorts opening their doors and several developers preparing to launch significant new projects.

Long-time Broome resort builder and developer, Rapley Wilkinson, has just opened the second stage of its four-star Frangipani Resort on Cable Beach and recently acquired the nearby Palm Grove Caravan Park with a view to redevelopment.

Spread over nearly two hectares, the $18 million Frangipani resort features eight short-stay villas and 46 apartments dotted around two tropical pools.

The joint venture project with landowner and local veterinarian, David Morrell, has almost sold out and Mr Morrell is currently selling four adjacent residential lots with access to the resort.

Rapley Wilkinson is also about to complete the first-stage redevelopment of the Tropicana Inn on the Roebuck Bay side of the peninsula, which has been re-branded Oaks Broome.

More than 100 apartments have been sold off-the-plan in what will be a 183-apartment resort featuring three swimming pools.

The property was bought in 2005 for $5.3 million by a syndicate of investors including Charter Property, Churchill Capital, Prendiville Group and Broome International Airport.

By far the biggest project on Rapley Wilkinson’s books, however, is the proposed redevelopment of the Palm Grove Caravan Park, one of only six blocks with absolute frontage to Cable Beach.

The site sits opposite Marilyn Paspaley’s new five-star Pinctada Resort on Murray Road, which is under construction.

Rapley Wilkinson, in joint venture with PRD Nationwide director Angus Murray, bought the 4.2ha Palm Grove property for $12.5 million this year and plans to build three resorts on the site around a swimming pool of a size to rival that of Burswood Resort.

Mr Murray told WA Business News the partners hoped to start work on the first stage of the development next year, which would feature 125 apartments, subject to planning approval.

It is expected the yet-to-be-named resort will have a traditional Broome-inspired style with a Japanese twist.

“The apartments will be positioned over three levels with lifts and the pool will be a major tourist attraction,” Mr Murray said.

While the Palm Grove shapes up for a major transformation, the long-vacant lot 2,230 Cable Beach Road between the Crocodile Park and Divers Tavern is preparing to intensify the competition with a five-star resort called Bon Ton.

WA Business News was shown the preliminary concept plans of Sydney-based private investor and site owner, Elisabeth Meixner, which feature 14 long-stay apartments of between two and four bedrooms, 73 one-bedroom short-stay apartments, permanent staff accommodation, and several retail and commercial units fronting Cable Beach Road. 

The three-level resort, to be built by Brisbane-based developer Cratburn Pty Ltd, has taken 12 years to come to fruition and will have a convention centre and a 1,500 square metre lagoon-style pool with a private beach. 

Cratburn is expected to approach the shire within weeks with the plans and it is anticipated the apartments will reach the market in March next year priced from $1.6 million.

Shire of Broome president Graeme Campbell said it was a challenge for the shire to manage the growing workload from new developments in the town, but it was committed to achieving developments that were in keeping with the unique Broome architectural style.

Mr Campbell said Broome needed more tourism accommodation as the soon-to-be introduced international flights out of Broome would open the town to the world.

“Commercial/resort developers know that they are limited to a 10 metre plate height and 14 metre roof height. Council also must ensure that roofs are pitched at 26 degrees and the corrugated iron look is replicated throughout the town,” he said.

“These are all good features of Broome which make it stand out.”

Other resort developments on the drawing board in Broome include the major expansion of the iconic Cable Beach Club Resort by owners Hawaiian and the redevelopment of the Mangrove Hotel by the Gilligans Backpackers Hotel and Resort group.

Another group is understood to be developing an upmarket Balinese-style resort called Sojoure on the southern end of Lullfitz Drive, near the new 46-unit Rendezvous Sanctuary Drive Resort.

•The author visited Broome courtesy of Rapley Wilkinson.

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