After the previous sale in 2009 failed to complete, a unique island along Queensland’s coast will be going under the hammer in hopes of finding a new buyer.
In 2007, Queensland real estate agent Ken Collingswood was confident – but realistic – about the prospect of selling Toogoom Island, a rare freehold private island located about a 3.5 hour drive up the coast from Brisbane. Interviewed in Australia’s Courier Mail newspaper, the agent said that while a buyer would not be difficult to find, private island “gems” like Toogoom posed many challenges for developers – especially with its high price tag. “Anything with a $10 million sale mark does take a bit of time to sell because everybody wants special conditions,” he said.
The 57-acre island would seem ideal for a resort or other large development – located near a pleasant seaside community across from Fraser Island, the large property is already somewhat developed, and comes with several houses, a sought-after landing strip for airplanes, peaceful natural beauty, and fully-titled beaches that would keep the island private and exclusive. Found just 400m from the mainland, all amenities are readily available.
Despite these attractive qualities, numerous contracts on the island fell through, and several years passed before Toogoom did eventually find a buyer – albeit at the much reduced price of just over AUS $4.1M. In 2009, the new owner Rob Wilson moved on to the island after providing a $150K deposit to the seller, Brett Gunderson, who agreed to an arrangement of $1M per year until the sale price was paid off, as long as certain preconditions were met. Under the agreement, Gunderson would continue to hold the deed until the transaction was complete.
Wilson, also known as “Aussie Rob”, is a flamboyant entrepreneur best known for his series of stock trading and FOREX instructional DVDs, sold under the banner of “Lifestyle Trader” and wildly popular in Australia. His intention with Toogoom was to turn the island into a 5-star luxury resort to rival any of Queensland’s famous private isles. According to Gunderson, though, this small deposit was the last money he saw from the buyer.
According to Aussie Rob, however, he completed numerous renovations to the island and paid substantially more money than the reported $150K, as he told to the Fraser Coast Chronicle newspaper. He cited contractual disagreements and issues with the seller’s finance company, telling the paper that he would have liked to proceed with his plans, but that “acting on legal advice that it was imprudent to proceed, I had to put the contract to an end.”
The auction date is now set for December 9th at 11am, and will be held at the offices of Ray White Real Estate at Brisbane’s Riverside Centre. Scott Wagner, the island’s broker, told the Chronicle that while he could not give a comment on the hoped-for sale price, he was confident that the auction would be successful given its many advantages.
“It has the privacy and the seclusion of a freehold island with the benefit of instant access to the mainland,” he said. “You would be able to pop over to pick up bread and milk, and just five minutes later you’d be yahoo-ing around the island again.” Aussie Rob’s island dreams may have fallen through, but perhaps this time, Toogoom’s lifestyle and possibilities will attract a new owner prepared to seal the deal.
Read more about Toogoom Island: Fraser Coast Chronicle
Watch broker Scott Wagner’s amazing video of the island: Youtube