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JUNIPER AWARDS AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST PRIVATE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT

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Juniper Group today announced it has signed with Australia’s leading privately-owned development and construction group, Grocon, to build the $850 million Soul Surfers Paradise residential tower and retail precinct on the Gold Coast.

Juniper joint Managing Directors Graeme and Shaun Juniper said the contract was believed to be the largest private construction deal ever awarded in Australia for a single-tower development.

"Soul Surfers Paradise has set another record with this contract," Shaun Juniper said.

"Soul has already achieved an Australian record price for a penthouse – $16.85 million – and today we can announce the end value of the project now exceeds $850 million, making it the most valuable new high rise residential and retail development in the country.

"Soul Surfers Paradise is setting new records at every turn," Mr Juniper said.

"This building contract is a substantial milestone and we’re extremely pleased to be working with Grocon, a company with an outstanding record of delivering large-scale, quality developments."

With the signing of the building contract, Grocon will immediately commence excavation on the northern beachfront site. Demolition of Raptis Plaza and the start of construction of the tower will commence mid-year.

Soul Surfers Paradise will be Grocon’s first project in Queensland.

Grocon CEO Daniel Grollo said Soul represented an exciting chapter in the company’s evolution and entrée into the Queensland market.

"We are excited to be involved with such a landmark construction project for our first Queensland project and we are looking forward to getting started," he said.

"I congratulate Juniper on their excellent work on the project to date and believe the project once completed will rank alongside the best the world has to offer in luxury living and retail shopping.

"As the builder, we will complete this iconic project in line with our quality construction standards and experience and deliver to owners blue-chip residences that do justice to one of the world’s best beachfront locations."

Grocon has a track record of delivering on large, iconic projects, most recently the 92-level, $500 million Eureka Tower at Melbourne’s Southbank, one of the world’s tallest residential buildings at more than 300 metres. Grocon also built the Rialto Towers in Melbourne, for many years the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, and the 62-storey Cove Apartments in Sydney’s historic Rocks district.

Mr Juniper said apartment sales in Soul Surfers Paradise were approaching $400 million.

The project also features a $100 million, 5,700 sq m retail component in the best beachfront location in the country’s premier shopping precinct. CBRE Research recently confirmed Cavill Avenue in Surfers Paradise, ahead of Noosa’s Hastings Street and Oxford Street in Sydney, as Australia’s most valuable retail strip.

Completion and settlement of the 77-storey tower is forecast for 2011.

Soul Surfers Paradise is a showpiece property of the privately-owned Juniper Group – a fully integrated development and investment company.

The award-winning group boasts more than $2 billion worth of projects and strategic landholdings currently under development or scheduled for future construction in key coastal tourist precincts on the eastern seaboard, including the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and North Queensland.