Nearly 150 Gold Coast residents are set to lose their underground parking largely thanks to a spectacularly successful trade deal struck by local mayor Tom Tate’s consortium.
The parking lot is being sold under them as part of a $22 million sale of a former bowling green bought by Tate and his business partners for a fraction of its value.
Bill Cahill is among residents facing an estimated loss of more than $100,000 on the value of his apartment in the Surfers Plaza complex if he no longer has a dedicated parking lot.
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“We are hard working Australian fighters just trying to try and I think what is happening to us now is crippling us financially,” Cahill said.
“My family and the people of Surfers Plaza Resort would not be in this position at all, were it not for the actions of our town’s mayor, Tom Tate.”
Tate is a real estate developer and before becoming mayor, a company he partly owned took over the financially troubled Surfers Paradise Bowls Club in 2005, with a plan to save it.
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Instead, it closed for renovations and never reopened, upsetting members of the bowling club with one telling Nine News at the time, “They’re going to put a skyscraper on it, you couldn’t bet enough money on it”.
The prime real estate parcel attached to the club had been valued between $10 million and $14 million and had been the subject of two offers to buy for more than $7 million.
But in 2007, one of Tate’s companies quietly bought most of the club’s bowling greens for just $770,000.
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Tate declined to answer A topical matter questions about how he was able to buy the land at such a low price.
A topical matter does not suggest any irregularity in this transaction.
Beneath the bowling green is a car park which was built as part of the Surfers Plaza development, but on a separate title.
Residents had a lease in place to use the parking lot until 2032, but it has since been terminated.
After failed attempts to build a high-rise building complex on the bowling green, Tate and his business partners put the block up for sale last year.
It sold for $22 million with settlement due in September.
The deal would deliver a dramatic 628% return on the Tate consortium’s investment, after adding another $2.25 million spent on a smaller piece of the bowling green that was owned by the state government.
Fellow Surfers Plaza resident Mark Eastlake said he was “absolutely stunned” by the $22 million sale.
“$22 million without any consideration for all of us who live here,” Eastlake said.
“It’s all about the money. It’s all about the money.”
Another piece of the bowling greens site is owned by Gold Coast City Council and has also been put up for sale.
The problem for residents of Surfers Plaza relates to a previous development request on the council-owned portion, which included a requirement that any future development on the bowling greens must also provide them with 150 car parks.
That condition has now been dropped, with a Gold Coast City Council spokesperson declining to respond A topical matter questions about why.
“Surfers Plaza Resort parking requirements are the responsibility of the Surfers Plaza Resort,” the spokesperson said.
“Any future development requests will be assessed in accordance with the Council’s statutory obligations.”
Tate’s brief statement didn’t address any specific questions about future resident parking, or how he was able to achieve such a healthy return on investment.
“This building was approved circa 1985. I arrived on the Gold Coast in 1995 and was not elected mayor until 17 years later,” the statement read.
The residents of Surfers Plaza are furious with the Mayor and Gold Coast City Council.
“We want answers from Tom Tate. We want answers from Gold Coast City Council on why this is happening,” Cahill said.
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