A rundown beachfront resort in Rarotonga, known for its hardluck history and mafia links, is set to be sold - again.

Bayleys Fiji and the South Pacific director Philip Toogood said serious negotiations for the "unique" property were progressing well.

The beachfront property, home to the former Sheraton Hotel, now lays in a graffiti-ridden state on the islands southern side. It is well-known to tourists and locals alike who are either intrigued or scared off by "curse" stories around the site.

The hotel dates back from a 1987 deal when the Cook Islands Government signed a $52 million contract with an Italian bank. The Italian Government insured the set-up, an Italian contractor started work but then went bust.


It had since been left in a dilapidated state, with graffiti-ridden walls, torn room wiring and damaged wash-basins and baths. It never opened to paying guests.

Auckland-based Mirage Group and Napier builder Herbert Construction NZ had plans to restore the property in 2014, but was instead put up for sale by Bayleys Real Estate.

Although never completed, the original Sheraton buildings and structures remain largely sound and intact. The entire project was about 90 per cent complete when work stopped in the early 1990s.

The current owner has already completed plans for a luxury resort featuring stylish hotel rooms; over water bures and a lush tropical garden.

Approval to change the island's ring road which currently separates the buildings from the stunning beach had also been granted.

If completed, the site will be Rarotonga's first five-star resort with potential to accommodate up to 460 rooms, villas and apartments, Toogood previously told the Herald.

International tender for the sale of the site closed on May 24.