Mark Spillane’s Upsense Media Capital Purchases Dunk Island

Main Photo: Dunk Island

Date: July 2021

Name: Dunk Island

Location: Dunk Island, Great Barrier Reef, North Queensland, Australia

Number of Keys: TBA

Seller: The resort on the island has been in disrepair since Cyclone Yasi ravaged the island in 2011. Dunk Island was sold to investment group Mayfair 101 in September 2019 but was repossessed by the family of Australian businessman Peter Bond in 2020 after Mayfair failed to meet payment commitments.

The former Dunk Island resort featured a 9-hole golf course, multiple food and beverage outlets, tennis courts, and day spa.

Buyer: Upsense Media Capital co-founder Mark Spillane has confirmed that his private equity firm has purchased troubled Far North Queensland resort, Dunk Island.

Spillane, who has promoted concerts in Australia and produced television shows like Bondi Ink, is said to have spent between AUD $20 – $ 25 million on the Mission Beach Dunk Island.

Dunk, which is one of just few freehold islands on the Great Barrier Reef, is home to an airstrip, 135 hectares of land, once boasted a 4.5-star resort with 160 rooms and a nine-hole golf course.

However, the popular holiday destination has been left in a dilapidated state since Cyclone Yasi swept through the region in 2011, and has changed ownership twice before this latest acquisition.

Dunk was initially purchased by Linc Energy CEO Peter Bond in the wake of the cyclone, for $7.5 million, who later sold it off to James Mawhinnet’s Mayfair 101 for $31 million in 2019.

It was previously owned by Qantas and cruise company P&O before being acquired by Peter Bond in 2011.

Despite plans to establish a $1.5 billion tourist haven, Mayfair 101 subsequently encountered a number of financial woes and were placed into liquidation, with Dunk ownership reverting back to Bond after Mawhinney’s firm failed to make repayments on the island.

Although Spillane has not yet revealed Upsense’s plans for the direction of Dunk, the Sydney-based entertainment fund was reportedly looking to enter the Australian live music sector through a series of strategic partnerships and equity investments.

JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group agents Andrew Langsford and Nick Roche handled the sale on behalf of the Bond family.

“This deal is a clear demonstration of the capital depth in the Australian hotel and resort market, and we anticipate our appeal as an investment destination will only increase as domestic travel continues to soar,” Roche said.

The island is divided into three—a national park area, a freehold area and the council-owned spit which is used for low-impact activities such as camping.

Price: Around AUD23m

THPT Comment: One assumes that Mr Spillane will re-establish the island as an upmarket resort with hotel…but we don’t know as yet.

First Seen: Urban Developer

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