After
final “offers” are tabled for consideration with the Gold Coast City
Council this morning, the council will later today decide between two
main competing
sites for the location of the Coast’s $100 million plus NRL stadium to
host the
new local franchise.

While
the Robina Land Corporation (RLC) site has always been the council’s preferred
option and odds-on to win today’s vote, a second site at Nerang emerged as a
viable potential rival should Robina price itself beyond what was seen as fair
market value.

During the due diligence and negotiations
between council officials and various land developers all keen to attract the
new stadium, the process was not at all helped by local media plying pressure
on the council to not only rush a decision but explicitly talking up Robina as by
far the council’s best option. Several councillors are known to be seething at
the way this media campaign has played in to the hands of the likes of the RLC,
and may ultimately cost the council extra millions in any final purchase price.

While
Crikey understands the council is almost certain to vote in favour of the Robina
site in preference to Nerang, it’s unhappy that an independent valuation I
believe has been set at $10.1 million for the council’s consideration for the 5
hectare site was instead valued by the RLC at $20 million. This has
since been reduced to $17.5 million, but the council still felt it was being
price gouged and is hoping this morning’s final sale offer would be in the $15
million range as a compromise.

Originally
the Japanese developer of the Nerang site was seeking $24 million for a much
bigger parcel of land, but has now dropped its price to $16 million. However,
Robina is seen as an overwhelmingly superior site and the council is anxious to
make a decision today that will well and truly get the stadium development ball
rolling. It also seems the name of the new team will
either be the Gold Coast Pirates or Titans. With regard to the potential Robina
purchase, some councillors may feel Pirates is an apt name going forward!

Peter Fray

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