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Inside story of exclusive rich-listers’ homes

Seal Media Group, Australia

Among the Gold Coast’s most high-profile areas, it is best-known for its well-manicured golf courses and exclusive enclaves including Sanctuary Cove.It’s a well-heeled suburb which will cost you a pretty penny to buy into these days, with new data released in February revealing its homes now cost seven times what they did in 1996.FAMOUS BURLEIGH HEADLAND HOUSE’S ASTONISHING PRICEFAIL: BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH GOLD COAST’S CANAL ESTATESThe median price has soared from $145,000 to $1,040mIt’s a dramatic turnaround for an area which has a long history dating back to the 19th century.In part one of a series on the booming north, we look at the suburb’s origin and how the 1980s shaped its future.Hope Island is named for Captain Louis Hope, a Scottish-born grazier who arrived in Australia in 1848 and bought up significant land in and around Moreton Bay in the 1850s before serving as a state MP for more than 20 years.REAL REASON WHY COAST SHOPPING CENTRE IS EXPANDINGIn thanks for his significant role in developing the region’s sugar carn industry, Captain Hope was given more than 1800 acres of land around the mount of the Coomera River.The aristocratic figure never lived there, instead choosing to remain at his home in what is today Redland Bay before returning to the UK and ultimately dying in 1894.The Coomera land was developed by the Grimes family into a sugar plantation, a thriving business which continued well into the 20th century.Fast-forward to the 1980s and Hope Island came into focus as the next region for growth.NED-2822-GCB-APPINSIDE STORY: WHAT WENT WRONG WITH ELITE COURAN COVEIn 1985 the region was described by Bulletin writer Nan Dwyer described it as: “Sleepy and secure, its central and rather sodden terrain decorated only by the occasional farm house, while a few streets back from the Coomera River older weekenders rub shoulders with the houses of more recent commuter residents, Hope Island is about to be catapulted into its new tourist role as Gateway to the Gold Coast.”Plans were filed in 1982 by Development Equity Corporation for a giant 206ha, $150 million Mediterranean themed resort with a convention hall capable of seating 2000 people, a nine-hole golf course, parking for 2000 cars, eight tennis courts, two bowling greens, three swimming pools, and facilities for horse riding, squash and gymnastics.Accommodation was to be provided by an international-standard hotel of 300 rooms, a “”village’’ hotel complex of 500 self-contained units in two and three-storey buildings and condominiums.But the Albert Shire Council deferred approving the development at the time, saying it was “premature”.It never went ahead.In January 1984 an investment company paid $1.2 million for more than 174ha of land which plans for a tourist development.NED-3269 Gold Coast Download Newsletter BannerJust one month later, businessman Mike Gore, heading developer Cheoy Lee Australia, submitted plans to Albert Shire Council for a giant $90 million recreational centre, marina, boat manufacturing industry and residential area.“We have the grounds and the infrastructure to support an international stadium,’’ he said. “The Gold Coast is Australia’s premier tourist destination and it’s in the embryonic stage of reaching the same standards at an international level.’’This project, initially known as The Hope Island Resort, would eventually be named Sanctuary Cove and immediately became a topic of national conversation.The Hawke Government waved the project through, saying it would not breach any foreign investment laws, while Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen immediately met with Mr Gore and approved the development less than a month after its unveiling.“If you want to generate this sort of thing, you have to show an interest in it,’’ he said at the time.The state government passed the Sanctuary Cove Resort Act 1985 which allowed for the site to be heavily developed into what was described at the time as an “integrated resort”.With a new mega development approved, it led to calls for Coolangatta Airport to be upgraded to allow for more international visitors to fly in, something rubbished at the time by deputy mayor Sir John Edgerton.“Instead of wasting time, energy and finance in campaigning for a second international airport only 70 km from Brisbane, we should be concentrating on filling the domestic airline seats into Coolangatta,’’ he said.Construction of Sanctuary Cove began in May 1985 when Sir Joh launched the project and announced the state would spend more than $5.8 million to build what is today known as Hope Island Road to support the growth of resorts in the city’s far north.By late 1987 Sanctuary Cove was almost completed and Mr Gore prepared to launch his resort with great fanfare.NEXT WEEK: HOPE ISLAND’S BIG follow Andrew Potts

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