Juniper receivers win Soul penthouse default settlement court battle

Juniper receivers win Soul penthouse default settlement court battle
Juniper receivers win Soul penthouse default settlement court battle

The contracted buyer of the $16.85 million Soul penthouse on the Gold Coast has been ordered to pay the developer $14.1 million - but won't get to keep the unit.

Industrial transport entrepreneur Charlie Caltabiano was sued by receivers for Juniper Property Holdings, developer of the Surfers Paradise landmark.

Queensland Supreme Court judge David Jackson declare that the 2007 deposit together with interest accrued was to be forfeited to the plaintiff.

The defendant was ordered to pay $14,132,246 including interest of $1,471,509 over the failed Soul deal.

Caltabiano was at the Gold Coast having a drink in April 2006 when he saw a display for Soul apartments.

He spoke to the salesman, Justin Daniels and noticed the four level penthouse was priced at $16.85 million. 

As constructed, the penthouse had a total floor area of 1,043 square metres, divided between 519 square metres of internal living area and 524 square metres of balcony or roof deck outdoor area.

After he opted not to proceed to the 2012 settlement the penthouse sold for $7 million at McGrath auction last year to businessman Tony Fung.

The Juniper receivers claimed Mr Caltabiano, who paid a $1.68 million deposit on the luxury four-level apartment, breached the contract when he failed to settle on it three times over two years.

The plaintiff claimed a declaration that the deposit, together with interest accrued, was to be forfeited along with damages for breach of contract in the sum of $8,817,552.

The judge rejected Mr Caltabiano’s claims he reneged on the deal to buy the penthouse because the sellers misled him over its value.

Mr Caltabiano claimed the seller told him the Jade penthouse had sold for $20 million and that the Q1 penthouse sold for $7.8m but had half the floor size of the Soul penthouse — both sales that were untrue.

The judge said taking the other sales claims at their word and without any other research about the apartment’s value was “incredible”.

“It is commercially illogical and inherently improbable that in deciding upon a $16.85 million purchase the defendant would not have obtained such advice,” the judgement read "because of reliance on the alleged representations made by the plaintiff’s sales consultant comprising comparisons with properties that the defendant did not know anything about.

'This is where the defendant’s story is incredible," the judge noted.

Mr Caltabiano founded Force Corp, that rented out equipment like cherry pickers and hydraulic lifts in 1994, which by 2007 was a $100 million company.

The Gold Coast Bulletin reported the business was bought by Coates Hire last year.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

Gold Coast Property Development

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