Hard times forces $4m unit sale

Top Views: Josh Hunt is believed to be selling his estimated $4m Surfair Resort penthouse with views over Marcoola Beach.
Top Views: Josh Hunt is believed to be selling his estimated $4m Surfair Resort penthouse with views over Marcoola Beach. Lisa Williams / The Sunshine Coast Daily

JOSH Hunt flew high then fell hard.

Mr Hunt was the Sunshine Coast's Richard Branson want-to-be who built up a business empire that crashed and burned, with Mr Hunt left owing creditors in excess of $65million dollars.

Now it is believed Mr Hunt is trying to sell his award-winning penthouse at Marcoola's Surfair Resort which, on the website of his defunct Hunt Group, is estimated to be worth $4million.

In 2004 Mr Hunt and his wife, Paula, bought the unit for $2.81million and did $1.5million worth of renovations. However, Mr Hunt is not listed as the owner - his wife is.

Mr Hunt refused to speak to the Daily yesterday to confirm whether or not the luxurious unit was for sale.

However, Morne Kruger, a real estate agent from Status properties, told the Daily Mr Hunt's unit was on the market and believed Mr Hunt was selling in privately.

Mr Hunt has never been far from the headlines since he burst on the Coast business in 2005, when he opened Hunt on the River Restaurant in Maroochydore.

He was known to be extravagant, shouting his staff to a holiday in Fiji in 2007 and lodging plans to build a six-star hotel in Mooloolaba last November.

Even when the Tax Office started proceedings in the federal court to wind up Hunt By The River Pty Ltd last year, Mr Hunt dismissed the action, saying, "it's nothing really - I'm not concerned".

His biggest bang - and biggest downfall - came when he paid $100 million for Fitzroy Island near Cairns.

The television series The Biggest Loser was filmed at the Island's resort, which was described as "half finished".

But in April everything came crashing down.

The former owner of the Island, Cairns tourism business Raging Thunder, called in administrators, Brisbane firm McLeod and Partners, owed about $13million by Mr Hunt.

Bankwest, which financed Mr Hunt's purchase of the island to the tune of about $50 million, then called in Melbourne firm, Ferrier Hodgson, as receiver and manager of Fitzroy Island Resort and two associated companies.

On July 31 Jonathon McLeod and partners ended its involvement in Mr Hunt's dealings and on August 4 Sydney company Jirsch Sutherland was appointed as the new administrator.

Since Mr Hunt's companies went into receivership the Hunt Resort at Fitzroy Island has remained closed because of work being done due to concerns about unfinished infrastructure.

Greg Moloney of Ferrier Hodgson said progress was being made in relation to all matters regarding Mr Hunt's dealings.

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