Just a month after plans were announced to divide Great Keppel Island into lots and sell them to cryptocurrency investors, the tourism icon has been bought by one loved-up couple.
CK and Isabella Wei, of the Singaporean-Taiwanese business entity Wei Chao, googled ‘islands for sale’ and were immediately taken by the Central Queensland destination.
According to The Morning Bulletin, Isabella said: “We believe a lot in fate, and when we went to the island…I tell you, its amazing, we fell in love straight away.
“Not many believe in magic and spiritual things, but I do. And the feeling you get there is ‘I was beautiful before and I want to be beautiful again’.”
The couple, newcomers to Australian real estate, are believed to have paid more than $60 million for some 971 hectares of development-approved land on the island.
Great Keppel is the largest of largest of the eighteen islands in the Keppel Group off the Capricorn Coast at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef.
It has languished on the market for five years, with much of the former holiday mecca’s tourism infrastructure dilapidated following damaging storms and current owner Tower Holdings’ failure to complete upgrades post-GFC.
The cryptocurrency plan was the latest in a long line of options explored by Tower Holdings for the island, including a plan for a casino resort on the island rejected by planners.
Now it seems Great Keppel is destined to feel the love, with the sale going unconditional subject to government approvals and the property due to settle in early January.
“I believe its a dream that everyone wants to see the island returned to its former glory and I can’t wait to see that happen,” said Mrs Wei.
“Everyone is supportive and we don’t plan to change anything. We will go with what has been approved so there’s no delays in construction.”
Current development approvals for the island include a 250-room beachfront hotel, 300 luxury apartments, 285 luxury villas, 9,000sq m of retail shops and a 250-berth marina.
Approval has also been given for the airstrip to be extended from 800 metres to 1.5 kilometres which would allow greater visitor access and direct flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.
“While an agreement has been reached, the sale process is yet to be finalised – we anticipate the sale will be completed within the first half of next year,” said Knight Frank Rockhampton’s principal partner, Pat O’Driscoll.
“It’s an exciting move forward for the island and Queensland’s tourism industry, with the development of Australia’s next tourism icon in sight now.”
Great Keppel is the fifth Great Barrier Reef island sold to private investors in the past two years following South Molle, Daydream, Wilson and Heron islands.