Surprise plans for Crystalbrook site

CRYSTALBROOK Collection's final piece of undeveloped land in the Cairns CBD is edging closer to its transformation - and it will be a stark departure from what the growing hotel empire is used to.

The company, owned by Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud, bought a prime half-hectare block of land between Lake and Grafton streets in 2017 due to its central position and development potential.

Speculation over the future of the site - currently used as a parking lot - has been rife, but until now there has been no indication about what its future might hold.

Former Crystalbrook chief executive Mark Davie, speaking to the Cairns Post the day before he stepped down from the role, ruled out any chance of another hotel being built on the strategically located land.

"We're not going to do anything with that site until we get a firm commitment from a tenant so we can build what they want," he said.

"It won't be accommodation - it will be a commercial property.

"More than likely, it will be a government building of some kind."

There had been suggestions CQUniversity could build its new inner-city campus on the site, although that now looks unlikely.

The Cairns Post understands a number of feasibility studies have been carried out to determine the best use of the land.

Mr Davie said he had left Crystalbrook Collection to focus on his own business interests, mostly based in Newcastle in New South Wales.

He said he was proud of his involvement from the inception of the burgeoning hotel development firm - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which he never expected to "fall on (his) lap".

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