Indooroopilly Golf Club is poised to make millions from leasing part of its land

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Indooroopilly Golf Club, one of the richest in Queensland, is poised to make $76 million from leasing part of its land to a retirement village developer after council gave it the green light.

The club, which acquired much of its present site in 1977, will receive $22 million up front from Aura Holdings if it proceeds with the deal and an estimated $76 million over 40 years based on predictions about Aura’s future operations.

Some of the club’s land is leased from council for about $100 a year, the rest is freehold resulting from a land swap.

Brisbane City Council has issued a decision notice approving the use of part of IGC’s freehold, covering greens five and six, for the 215-unit, five-storey project fronting Meiers Rd.

IGC has annual revenue of about $9 million, charges joining fees of about $6000 plus expensive subscription fees.

The club has made multiple attempts to sell off parts of its land over the years, including leasehold given to it for 5000 pounds in 1947 by Henry Thomas, for use as a park.

That proposal was knocked back, as was an attempt to swap floodprone leasehold with council in exchange for leasehold next to Henry Thomas Park.

Another controversial plan by developer Mirvac to build a medium-rise development on part of IGC’s land also fell over.

IGC said there was strong club and community support for the project, which would address a local shortage of retirement options.

But State Greens MP for Maiwar, Michael Berkman, said while lawful, the deal was not fair.

“If this was the local footy club, I am positive council would be treating them very differently,’’ he said.

Club president, Mike Hume, said in an email to members that the council decision was “an important, significant and positive step for the golf club and the Indooroopilly community’’.

“If the project proceeds to completion, it will make a significant contribution to the financial security of the golf club.”

“It will also create an opportunity for Indooroopilly residents to “age in place” as their housing needs change over time.

Aura Holdings must now decide if it will accept several council conditions. The public then has 20 business days to lodge objections.

The club said in a statement that retirement living “is an appropriate and complementary use of the land that can enhance the quality of the course and provide community benefit’’.

“The lease payments to the club will be used in part on initial course improvements and then to secure the long term future of the club,’’ it said.

“Golf clubs across Australia are battling increasing costs.

“Mergers and closures are not uncommon.’’

Greens MP Michael Berkman. Photographer: Liam Kidston

However, Mr Berkman said IGC was one of the wealthiest clubs in the state and the land swap was predicated on the property being used for golf.

I think it’s completely fair that locals are asking questions when a wealthy and exclusive club is making tens of millions of dollars developing land which they originally received from Council for a very different purpose,’’ he said.

“The golf course occupies an absolutely stunning stretch of riverfront land.’’

Council approved the DA despite last year backflipping on its former policy of encouraging retirement projects on sport and recreation land.

Councillor Matthew Bourke. Picture: Peter Cronin

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