As part of a $35 million redevelopment, demolition work at The Ville Resort Casino, which until September 2015 was known as Jupiters Townsville Hotel & Casino, owned by Chris Morris, founder, and chairman of Computershare, is slated to begin next week.
In October 2014, Morris’ Colonial Leisure Group finalized the deal to purchase Echo Entertainment Group’s Jupiters Townsville, which opened in June 1986, casino for $70 million. At the time, Morris said that after a $20 million facelift, the Townsville property, which he described as “the worst-performing casino in Australia,” would be a cash cow and would help to bankroll his growing Queensland tourism empire. In addition to Orpheus Island Resort, the deal included Daintree Eco Lodge and helicopter business Nautilus Aviation as well.
Morris says that in his push forward with the grand redevelopment, he’s passed on offers from “tyre kickers” to purchase the resort property. Morris said, “I’ve had a number of people make approaches since I bought it but they’ve just been tyre kickers,” and, “I wouldn’t be spending $35 million redeveloping it if I was thinking about selling it, I can tell you that,” as reported by the Townsville Bulletin.
Plans for the now $35million redevelopment, which will begin next week, include the addition of three new restaurants, an infinity-edge pool with swim-up bar, private cabanas and an elevated deck that connects the pool to the lobby level, and a poolside function space able to accommodate 700 people.
Morris told the news agency that the traditional pub business had been destroyed by poker machines. However, he recently said that he would not be giving up the casino’s gaming license or make a move to acquire the former Resort Corp site located next door to the casino. He said, “The licence is for the Townsville casino – you can’t go and move it somewhere else,” according to the news agency. Morris said that he’s already spending enough on the renovation and that he’d like to see another party purchase and develop the adjacent 2.9-hectare site; saying “Whoever buys it should build units and a hotel, which would be great for the casino.”
Currently, the casino has about 5,100 square feet of gaming space, with approximately 280 slots and 25 table games.