Trouble in Surfers Paradise as unsold and unsettled Soul in receivership

Receivers have been appointed to manage the Juniper Group’s iconic Soul development at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

“The challenges facing the real estate market in the Gold Coast area are well known and have been impacting the major developers in the area for some time,” PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) receiver Michael Fung says.

“These challenges, together with the slower than expected completion and delays in settlements on pre-sold stock, meant that the receivership of this world-class development was unsurprising,” says Fung.

Fung says it would be “business as usual” as receivers finalised settlements of pre-sold apartments, marketed the remaining unsold apartments, and continued the development of the retail precinct.

The 288-apartment Soul project had about $425 million of pre-sales during 2006-07, but many buyers have been unable or unwilling to settle.

Juniper Group had engaged Norton Rose to ensure buyers legally settled on their purchases.

“Many of the apartments have been pre-sold, and we will be working through the settlement process to deliver those apartments to purchasers.

“Assets of such premium quality as Soul are rare, and we expect the remaining apartments will command significant attention from both domestic and international buyers,” Fung says.

The appointment of receivers and managers is restricted to the Soul development only and does not affect any other properties or assets, in particular, the Sea Temple hotel operation which is not impacted by this appointment.

The appointment is over the following companies: Juniper PM Pty Ltd; Juniper Financier No 2 Pty Ltd; Juniper Developer No 2 Pty Ltd; Pimlico Investments Pty Ltd; Juniper Property Holdings No 15 Pty Ltd; and Juniper Property Holdings No 24 Pty Ltd.

Initially due for completion in 2010, the Juniper Group’s Soul development was seeking the staggered settlement through much of this year.

The initial sales of the Soul apartments were undertaken in late 2004, when in a coup of timing some $200 million was secured from 126 sales following its Boxing Day 2004 release.

Prices started at $1.05 million, with the penthouse coming with a $16.75 million asking price. By October 2006 some 150 units worth a reported $425 million had been exchanged, including the penthouse.

The total sales tally was revised to $200 million in recent press reports.

The Soul Penthouse on the Gold Coast – purchased off the plan in late 2006 for $16.85 million – was on the market mid-year as it neared completion and initial settlement.

It’s a four-level penthouse with six bedrooms on the 70th floor of the Cavill Avenue building. There’s a private internal Italian glass lift and staircase.

Recently the developer Graeme Juniper told the Gold Coast Bulletin the Brisbane businessman Charlie Caltabiano had been given an extension on the settlement date for the purchase of the penthouse, which had been due to settle in August.

For advice on navigating hotspots, download our free eBook: Tools for Getting Through the Hotspot Maze. This article first appeared on Property Observer.


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