Site of Lloyd’s Auctions at Carrara sells to iPlay founder John Sophios

THERE could be some fun and games, big-time, looming for the Carrara site that’s home to the Lloyds auctions business.

The property has just changed hands and the buyer is a fellow who likes people to play.

He’s Brisbanite John Sophios, a 57-year-old who makes money out of keeping kids and families happy.

His iPlay group has 21 amusement centres in Queensland, NSW, WA and the ACT, with three of them on the Gold Coast.

He’s just paid $11.5 million for the 1.83ha property in Manchester Rd, Carrara, that is synonymous with tenant Lloyds.

John’s not talking about his plans for the land but it seems likely he’ll stick to his knitting with another amusement centre — or much more given the site’s size.

His intentions for the land might well be in their infancy and he’s shown no inclination to reveal where he’s at with them.

The 69 Manchester Rd property (foreground) that is leased to auction house Lloyds

A plan he announced for North Lakes, north of Brisbane, indicate he’s a big thinker.

He paid $5.8 million for a 1.5ha site in the CBD and announced plans for a mega games centre with attractions such as indoor skydiving and rock-wall climbing.

Whatever he decides for the Carrara site, things are unlikely to happen quickly on the site as the Lloyds lease, unless he buys it out, runs into 2025.

John has built his amusement empire over 30 years, starting with a single machine in a cafe.

He trademarked the iPlay name in 2015.

The iPlay fun offerings, depending on a centre’s size, can range from dodgem karts to 10-pin bowling, laser tag, shooting galleries, and lines of amusement machines.

Centre sizes range from 300 sqm, in high-traffic shopping centres, to 2000 sqm.

There are two centres at Coomera and another at Harbour Town at Biggera Waters.

The Sophios buys have included Rockhampton’s Rocky Bowl and Leisure, bought last year from its owners for the previous 44 years and targeted for a major upgrade.

John’s Carrara site is occupied by a former supermarket building that since 2010 has been occupied by the 19-year-old Lloyds business and by the freestanding home of a one-time Pizza Hut restaurant.

The site has parking for more than 100 cars and is opposite the Carrara Markets and close to Coco’s shopping centre.

Tony Stone, the Ray White Robina fellow who marketed the property earlier this year, indicated at the time that there’d been enormous interest.

It’s subsequently emerged that those perusing the site included McDonald’s, Boating Camping and Fishing, and self-storage operators.

Bunnings also was in the picture, given that it tried hard to make a warehouse work on flood plain land nearby.

The burgeoning Lloyds, founded in Southport in 2004 as an auction house for liquidation and estate items, has been leasing the property since 2010.

There’s no indication of the business’s plans once its lease runs out, but in the meantime John is banking half a million dollars a year in rent.

The beneficiary of the Sophios $11.5 million is W. Freestone Holdings, which was an investment vehicle for long-time commercial and industrial developer the late Bill Freestone.

The Carrara property had been in Freestone hands for 22 years.

CAMERON Delahunty, the lawyer son-in-law of Sirromet wines founder Terry Morris, has missed out on a cheque for a million dollars or so from high-rise king Harry Triguboff.

He’s an owner in the 27-unit Monaco low-rise on the Surfers Paradise beachfront, buying in for $310,000 in 2015 and trying to sell five years later.

The Triguboff camp offered $26 million for the building earlier this month but the owners of two units would not sell and any buyout deal was scuttled.

BRUCE Tilley, bankrupted 10 years ago after a partnership in the First State property group, is selling a multimillion-dollar mansion on the riverfront at Broadbeach Waters.

The two-level Monaco St home, which comes with a Versace chandelier, was built on a $1.1 million block bought a year before Bruce hit the financial skids.

He previously owned a beachfront home in Mermaid Beach’s Multi- Millionaires Row, with the property sold by a mortgagee for $5 million in 2013.

DANIEL Veitch, the developer behind fast-selling Broadbeach tower Laani, and partners have aborted plans for a four-level apartment project at Mermaid Beach and put the site on the market.

Daniel teamed with shoeman John Hutchins and sons to pay $5.6 million in 2021 for a corner Albatross Ave double lot with seven low-rise units on it.

Approval was gained last year for a $36 million, eight-apartment project, Naawa, but the partners now are chasing a buyer with $8.35million for their site.

Article source: Queensland Property Investor