Caravan park sale makes no cents

Lazy Acres Caravan Park.
Lazy Acres Caravan Park. Peter Chapman

THE Queensland Government will rip up almost $3 million worth of assets if it sells the Lazy Acres Caravan Park in the current depressed property market.

Expert estimates handed to the Chronicle by two caravan park valuation companies showed the site would need to be listed at less than $3 million.

The Labor Government purchased Lazy Acres five years ago for $4.2 million.

The park has had a further $2 million spent on upgrades since then.

That places Queensland taxpayer investment in the property at about $6.2 million.

The experts also posed serious questions about how the government lost $226,000 last year.

Opteon Property principal Alan Gees said he could not understand how the park was losing money.

"That's the first I've read of the $200,000 loss," he said.

"When I heard that I thought there's something wrong, there is something terribly, terribly wrong.

"You're getting a gross income of $450,000 and you're making a $226,000 loss, so you're burning $676,000. I can't understand."

He said the only reason the park could be operating in the red was if the government was spending up on capital expenditure.

Mr Gees valued the site at $2.4 million, but suggested that figure would rise if 11 empty cabins at the park were connected to electricity and put into the rental cycle.

Ben Souvlis from Carapark Sales came in with a higher valuation at $2.9 million, but suggested the actual sale price could be closer to the $2 million mark.

Mr Souvlis has sold more than 40 caravan parks in the past five years for prices ranging from $300,000 to $10 million.

"Lazy Acres has a lot of potential and on the current figures, an owner-operator could expect to make $190,000 to $285,000 per year," he said.

"The park is in a prime location but, in saying this, the government has over-capitalised with the recent money spent on the park.

"Over the past few years the park's gross profit has declined 5-7%, which is rare as 99% of parks I have listed have been increasing steadily by 5-7%."

The LNP stated that by selling the park and pouring the money into public housing it would be able to help more people into cheaper accommodation.

But according to a local construction expert, the government would be unable to provide enough homes for even the 48 permanent households of Lazy Acres.

The construction professional, who wanted his name withheld, said if the total $2.9 million valuation amount was paid it would fund the construction of 36-38 two-bedroom units.

But he said that did not take into account land, council, consultation and other miscellaneous costs.

He said such charges could soak up between $500,000 and $1.5 million and claimed that would significantly reduce the number of social housing units that could be bought.

The Department of Housing and Public Works was contacted in relation to its financial situation but representatives were on holiday due to the Ekka.

Ted Sorensen's office was also invited to comment but failed to respond.

Topics:  accommodation lazy acres caravan park lnp property public housing queensland government

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