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  • Gavin King

    TropicNow editor

    Email Gavin King

    New $100 million rainforest-inspired development for the Cairns CBD

    The company behind the massive redevelopment of the Rydges Tradewinds unveils its grand plans to build twin towers on a vacant site in the CBD.


    Construction of two towers featuring a hotel, function spaces, a restaurant-bar and residential apartments could start within months in the Cairns CBD.

    The GA Group has lodged a development application with Cairns Regional Council for the project, set to transform a 4000 sq/m vacant block on the corner of Abbott and Aplin Sts.

    The first tower will be an 11-storey project with around 200 hotel rooms, while the second tower is a residential complex featuring 110 apartments.


    The site was acquired by Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud's GA Group earlier this year, shortly after the company purchased the Rydges Tradewinds and an adjacent Esplanade site.

    The twin tower project could be voted on by council at its next meeting on 13 December. The project will be led by local firm Prime Constructions.

    GA Group wants the development to project a rainforest-inspired theme, while its redevelopment of Rydges Tradewinds will focus on themes related to the Great Barrier Reef.

    To proceed, the development will need to meet strict environmental conditions from various levels of government. The removal of trees on the site - which are home to flying foxes - will be a key point of contention for authorities and local environmentalists.

    GA Group's hotels managing director Mark Davie told TropicNow the company wanted to play an integral role in the growth of the city.

    An extensive interview with Mr Davie outlining the company's plans for Cairns will be featured in the next edition of Tropic Magazine, due to hit the streets from 5 December.

    “We’re not just hotel owners, we’re looking at the tourism industry as a whole, we’re looking at how we can help develop Cairns in a way that will attract people and encourage them to visit and live here," he said.

    “I’m looking at our investments in Cairns with a far more holistic approach than just simply being a hotel owner.

    “We want to get involved with the community, we want to work with the community."