Speculation swirling around Palmer’s plans for resort
Speculation is rife Clive Palmer's Coolum resort could be returned to its former glory after the billionaire businessman settled a long-running court dispute.
Mr Palmer last week ended a complex, eight-year legal fight involving resort owners at the mothballed Palmer Coolum Resort - formerly the Hyatt Regency Coolum.
The former federal MP has agreed to pay 310 unit owners $65,000 each for their quarter shares in a $20.8 million settlement to end the class action.
It will likely give Mr Palmer total control of the former five-star resort.
The resort was closed in 2015, putting 600 staff out of work and shareholders of 144 villas in limbo.
Today it is near deserted, however the golf course remains open.
Yaroomba resident Lynette Saxton said she hoped Mr Palmer would "do the right thing" and return the 150ha site back to its former glory.
"That resort at one stage was the most prestigious resorts in Australia and when Clive decided he didn't want to run it as a resort anymore it resulted in over 600 jobs being lost, mostly locals, but it also cut off an enormous economic lifeline for Coolum," Ms Saxton said.
Ms Saxton, president of Development Watch, is one of the driving forces behind a court appeal against the approval of a five-star resort proposed by Sekisui House, across the road from Mr Palmer's resort.
Villa owners Peter Sheppard and Chris Shannon believe the site will be sold to Sekisui for development.
If Sekisui wins the Supreme Court appeal and the project goes ahead, it would deliver 740 dwellings including units and townhouses, a seven-storey, 220-room, five-star resort and a shopping complex.
It is not the first time speculation has swirled around if Sekisui would be interested in reopening the resort.
In 2016 the company released a Community Engagement report where it responded to questions of why it was building a new resort instead of trying to take over Mr Palmer's.
"The low density and spread out (Palmer Coolum) resort, developed in the 1980s, had been unviable for a long period before closing due to the significant costs to service guests and maintain the facilities," they said.
"The 5 star Westin Coolum Resort & Spa proposed for our site is a viable resort model that will provide the Sunshine Coast with much needed luxury tourist accommodation and large
They also said they had "no plans" to lease the Palmer Coolum Resort's 18-hole golf course, which once hosted the PGA Tournament for 11 years.
Organisations of Sunshine Coast Associations of Residents president Melva Hobson said she was surprised to hear Mr Palmer settled the court dispute.
"What is he up to?" she said.
"(The resort) was beautiful, and it still could be beautiful."
A spokesman for Mr Palmer declined to comment on the settlement or future plans for area.
Yaroomba Beach project director Evan Aldridge last month told the Daily that the company had no comment on the future uses for Mr Palmer's resort.