Mitchells sell 55 per cent of resort empire
By ADRIAN MILLER
TWO of Yamba's iconic holiday destinations have been sold to a financial services group in a deal which values them at close to $30 million.
The Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort and the Yamba Waters Caravan Park have been sold to Mariner Financial Limited (MFL), who have purchased a 55 per cent stake in the parks.
Current owners, the Mitchell family, who also own and operate Angourie Rainforest Resort, have owned and operated the parks for close to 20 years. MFL have established a property fund called the Mariner Coastal Land Fund (MCLF) to buy the properties, which will enable people to invest in the resorts.
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While the Mitchells will continue to own a 45 per cent stake in the holiday centres, they will no longer have any involvement in the day-to-day running of the parks.
However, they will sit on a project control group which will oversee any new developments made to the holiday retreats.
A development conducted in three stages over eight years is planned for the Blue Dolphin site, although details are yet to be announced.
Another company, Free Spirit Resorts, which has been granted an eight-year lease, will be responsible for managing and running the parks.
Dave Mitchell said contracts were signed and exchanged last week in Sydney and the family was pleased the process had finally come to an end.
"It's been a long process because we started in earnest back in February this year, but we started the planning back in November last year," he said.
"It's been a big effort to pull all the advice together from the solicitors and accountants and making sure you're doing the right thing."
Mr Mitchell said although he was happy to have sold the businesses, it was done with mixed emotions.
"We've been looking forward to it, but I suppose there's a tinge of sadness there as well," he said.
"We've got a hell of a lot of staff who have all been very loyal and they are the secret to our success, so we are very grateful to them for all of their hard work over the years."
Mr Mitchell said the decision to sell came from a desire to pursue other interests.
"Twenty years doing the one thing is a long time and ultimately it was just a desire to do something different," he said.
"But I won't be jumping back into anything with both feet for a while."
Investment into the MCLF will be open until December 12, at a minimum of $5000.