Chinese mining tycoon beats Clive Palmer to acquire Lindeman Island, with plans to redevelop

Chinese mining tycoon beats Clive Palmer to acquire Lindeman Island, with plans to redevelop
Chinese mining tycoon beats Clive Palmer to acquire Lindeman Island, with plans to redevelop

Lindeman Island in the Whitsundays has been bought by William Han, chairman of China-based White Horse Australia Holdings Pty Ltd and non-executive director of Western Australia's Padbury Mining, for around $12 million.

Han has plans to redevelop the island, but it could be up to two years before Lindeman Island reopens.

Han acquired the resort island from French chain Club Med, which bought it for $15 million in 1990 and had spent the last two decades developing and upgrading the location.

Club Med shut the resort down in January due to a mixture of poor visitor numbers, burdensome regulation and a turndown in the leisure travel market, one industry representative has said.

Han saw off a number of strong bids including interest from mining magnate Clive Palmer and other Australian high-net-worth individuals.

CBRE Hotel’s Wayne Bunz, who negotiated the sale of Lindeman Island alongside Paul Nyholt, says it could take between 12 months to two years before it reopens for business.

Bunz and Nyholt also negotiated the sale of Bedarra Island Resort in far north Queensland to the Charlton Hotel Group last year.

Bunz tells Property Observer there was greater interest in Lindeman Island than Bedarra Island because of its proximity to Hamilton Island, which receives about 40 flights per week.

“In the first round we had 11 bids and 200 enquiries,” Bunz says.

“You always do, people come out of the woodwork when an asset like this comes up for sale.”

“Clive Palmer was one of the bidders, and there were also a fair few from Melbourne,” he says.

In a statement Han, who is an Australian citizen, said he would "work hard" to revive the island's fortunes.

"White Horse is now examining how to reposition Lindeman as an attractive tourist destination, but the resort has been through some challenging times," Han said in the statement.

“We are looking closely at a range of options to reinvigorate the island but it will take some time to assess the best way to move forward."

 Han said it was the Group’s intention that the Lindeman development would be run by a professional resort management company.

“We are committed to resort developments that are in harmony with the natural landscape, with high environmental values,” Han added.

Lindeman is a 584 hectare leasehold island which is located on the Great Barrier Reef approximately 40 minutes by air from Cairns International Airport.

The Han family White Horse Group owns a large outdoor advertising network, along with property and resort interests.

Bunz says the new Queensland government’s focus on re-establishing Queensland as leading tourist destination is encouraging more opportunistic investors.

Another iconic Queensland resort, the Palazzo Versace hotel on the Gold Coast, is also up for sale for $80 million and is expected to be sold to Asian interests.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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