HK billionaire Tony Fung looks to build hotel on Australia's Gold Coast

Rendering of the shelved Aquis casino resort in Cairns. (Aquis)

Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung's plans for a resort in Cairns, Queensland, may be in the lurch, but that doesn't mean the investor's plans for Australia have slowed down at all

Fung’s Aquis Australia is seeking permission to build a 48-story hotel with 580 guestrooms and suites at the Pacific Point Apartment complex site on Main Beach Parade. The hotel is expected to cost $440 million.

A development application will be lodged this week with the Gold Coast City Council.

In August, Fung put his plans to to build an $8.15-billion casino and resort complex in Cairns on hold. Aquis is now pressing ahead on a $2-billion non-gaming development for Cairns. “The company is still continuing to review the project following the decision to withdraw the casino aspect of it,” a spokesman for Aquis boss Tony Fung told the Cairns Post. “Aquis is still hopeful it will go ahead and there is still a lot of work to do.”

Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Alex de Waal was reportedly skeptical about Aquis' future—but noted that other investors, including Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud, were looking to develop in Cairns. The city, he claimed, was not reliant on Fung for its tourism future. “Having a portfolio of investors is more desirable than one mega investor,” de Waal said.

Acting mayor Terry James said the Cairns Regional Council had not heard from Aquis in months, and blamed the state government for bureaucratic delays that tested the investors' patience.