Star Entertainment Ventures into Apartments Rentals

Star Entertainment is busy assembling a new team to manage the rental pool of its luxury multi-million dollar apartments at Gold Coast.

Star Entertainment is no stranger to lavish hotel rooms but it is not known for renting apartments. That is changing with the Australian casino giant hiring an expert to lead its new short and long-term apartments rental division.

Steve McPharlin has joined Star Entertainment as Director of Hotel and Residences. He will work alongside Jessica Wilkie, the Senior Strata and Asset Manager. McPharlin was the CEO of Tourism Noosa previously.

The new business provides in-house management for Star’s apartments letting pool. Focus is primarily on the soon-to-open The Star Residences at the company’s Gold Coast property. There are 422 one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments in the new 53-storey tower. The apartments come available in 2022, the same time The Dorsett Gold Coast Hotel opens.

McPharlin and Wilkie lead a team of more than 60 employees. They manage the hundreds of Star-owned apartments. Star has sold more than 90% of the apartments in Tower 3. In addition, 370 more properties in Tower 4 are listed as unavailable.

Mark Hodge is the Star Gold Coast General Manager Hotels and Residence. Hodge welcomed McPharlin and Wilkie to the company.

“Welcoming Stephen and Jessica, who bring a wealth of hospitality and hotel experience, we have filled the first key positions, with Stephen’s role as Director of Hotel and Residences to also encompass responsibility across our other two properties, The Star Grand and The Darling.

“We are now actively recruiting for numerous other specialised positions and will have over 60 front-line hospitality roles to be filled when operational.”

Apartments Are Big Business

Star is not the only casino company to build luxury apartments on the grounds of its properties because Crown Resorts did exactly that at its Barangaroo, Sydney, property. Crown built 82 luxurious apartments, which help offset the massive construction costs. Xiujuan Ma and Guohua Yan paid an astronomical $20,565,118 for the most expensive apartment, surpassing the previous highest of $12 million.

The new Star business is there to help maximise returns for those property investors who return their apartments to the rental pool. Star provides 24/7 security and surveillance, housekeeping, maintenance, and more. The apartment becomes fully managed, leaving the owner to bank the rental money.

“We know these apartments will be particularly appealing to families and conference delegates, who want all the comforts of home, as well as the amenities and conveniences of an internationally renowned resort,” Hodge said.

Gold Coast Business Booming

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues hurting Star Entertainment’s bottom line. It Sydney property is closed under government guidance, something that happened several times in 2020.

The company’s latest financial figures revealed a 29.2% revenue reduction at its Sydney casino. However, business boomed elsewhere, especially at the Gold Coast, which saw a 16.3% increase. Revenue at Gold Coast weighed in at $381.3 million; its EBITA soared 308.7% to $112.5 million.

Star continues investing heavily in its Gold Coast property. It spent $100 million refurbishing its Convention and Exhibition Center. An additional $2 billion went towards improving and building a new tower at the Gold Coast.

The company invested $4.35 billion into its Star Entertainment Queensland project. Chow Tai Fook and the Far East Consortium joined as investors, helping towards the huge cost. Rumours circulated of a new casino after Star paid $140 million for Southport Spit. However, Chairman John O’Neill poured cold water on those rumours.

“The Star’s position has always been – we support investment in tourism assets on the Gold Coast – but the Gold Coast market is too small for two casinos. We are not alone in the assessment of the market. The introduction of another local casino competitor would force us to defend out local market share at the expense of driving incremental growth in interstate and international tourism.”