$1.4b project in doubt after developer collapse
ONE of the largest developers currently active on the Gold Coast has gone into administration, leaving up to 500 local staff and more than a billion dollars in future projects under a cloud.
Ralan Group, developer of the Ruby Collection hotel and residential project, and owner of the popular Paradise Resort, went into administration yesterday.
Staff of the Surfers Paradise operations were emailed overnight with news of the collapse, but were told it was "business as usual" and warned against speaking to the media.
Along with being a tourist drawcard, the resort is a magnet for locals, who use the ice rink and water park for kids parties.
Sydney-based Ralan, headed up by William O'Dwyer, had been bullish about developing a further three towers on the Surfers Paradise site of the Paradise Resort after completing its first tower in October.
Welsh-born Mr O'Dwyer, 53, stormed into town in 2015, splashing $95 million on Surfers Paradise properties and quickly becoming one of the suburb's biggest landholders.
The company in August announced it would commence construction of its second tower early this year, however no work has yet commenced.
Mr O'Dwyer said in November the fast-tracked $1.4 billion Ruby Collection would spark 5000 jobs for the city.
However, even then there were reports sales in the first tower were being declined finance, with valuations coming in up to 30 per cent lower than expected.
Administrators Said Jahani, Graham Killer and Philip Campbell-Wilson of Grant Thornton have been appointed to the group's 58 companies, which include its developments, hotel, retail and hospitality operations on the Gold Coast and in Sydney.
The Gold Coast Bulletin has contacted Ralan Group's representatives for comment.
A Paradise Resort staff member, who did not want to be named, said workers were already seeking new jobs.
"There are probably 500 of us across the two Gold Coast operations - in retail, entertainment, Kid's Club, housekeeping, maintenance and management," she said.
"All of us are saying 's**t have we even got jobs now?'.
"We're all expecting to turn up and be told we don't have jobs anymore, we're looking for new jobs because we're terrified we're about to be thrown in the deep end."
The collapse follows the scuttling of what would have been the city's tallest tower, the $1.2 billion Spirit, with Chinese developer Forise selling off the site late last year.