Hidden story of Chinese ownership behind Jewel revealed
A $1.4 billion game that's being played on the beachfront between Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach could well be called 'blind' Chinese chequers.
The 'game' involves the three-tower Jewel project and until it ends the player holding the winning piece, or peg, might not be known.
And the holder of that piece will not necessarily be a winner financially in what from day one has been the Gold Coast's boldest beachfront tower project.
There have been two apparent changes of ownership since Dalian made a dramatic exit, ordered by the Chinese Government, in 2018.
There's a suspicion that the real current owner might be secreted behind a Chinese wall.
The name that keeps surfacing is Evergrande, China's second-biggest developer and which has an Australian arm.
It hasn't responded to questions about Jewel.
Two years ago Evergrande was rated as the world's most valuable real estate group but its status has eased since it emerged a few months back that it was carrying more than $110 billion in debt.
In 2015 founder Xu Jiayin - reputedly a $50 billion man -- was ordered by the government to sell his $39 million Sydney mansion in Point Piper.
Jewel, being undertaken on a site that reportedly ended up costing more than $100 million, has hardly shone as an example of a trouble- free project.
After China's Yuhu Group was named as the party that had acquired it from Dalian Wanda two years ago, sales were halted and at one point construction was suspended when workers walked off the job.
It later was suggested that Yuhu had no money in the project and merely was managing it -- and it seems it still is.
Come May 2019 and full ownership of Jewel moved to AWH Investments, in which Bo Chang, a fellow in his early 30s, is among directors and has links back to Evergrande.
He popped up in November as the buyer, for close to $40 million, of six houses near the harbour in Sydney.
A company which he controls, according to company records, also owns a $5.2 million home in Admiralty Drive, Paradise Waters.
Interior fit-out of at least two of the DBI-designed towers has been under way and the operator for the five-star hotel in the third tower has been revealed as Langham.
Another operator, perhaps Marriott's St Regis arm, was discarded in the wake of Jewel's ownership change in May.
Meanwhile, there's no sign of the apparent current owner racing to line up buyers for the luxury apartments.
The last marketing effort saw one-bedroom Jewel apartments priced from $790,000, two-bedroom and two-bathroom units from around $1.3 million, and a penthouse at $16 million.
There are, however, signs action is looming with the retail areas - agents have been sounded out about potential tenants.
KEVIN Seymour, Brisbane property veteran and rich-lister, has abandoned plans for a Gold Coast boutique apartment building where prices were to start above $3 million.
Solace was to go on a $6 million site overlooking the ocean at the northern end of Broadbeach.
Kevin's now decided he has bigger fish to fry, in the form of four or five major Brisbane projects, and will sell the Solace site if he gets the right offer.
MCNAB HAS THE UPPERHAND
MICHAEL McNab, who leads expansive Toowoomba-based construction company that wears his surname, appears to have the inside running on a Main Beach apartment tower 'build'.
A company of which he is sole director, but is not the beneficial owner of the shares, has emerged as the $6.75 million buyer of a Woodroffe Ave site on which luxury building White is planned.
Off-the-plan sales of the tower, proposed by Peter Priest's Trenert group, were launched several months ago.
ROLLS ROYCE IN NEW HANDS
THE 1934 Rolls-Royce that for years was a centrepiece at the then-Rolls nightclub at the Sheraton Mirage Hotel on the Southport Spit is believed to be in new hands.
It was taken from basement storage in the wake of the hotel's then owner, India's Pearls group, collapsing in 2016, and kept in a Labrador shed in an arrangement apparently involving Peter Madrers, one of the men who oversaw the hotel for Pearls.
A Madrers associate says he's been told the dark-blue car was sold before Christmas.