Who is Sheng Wei? Meet the Bargara high-rise developer
WHO is Sheng Wei?
With the Bundaberg councillors just days away from deciding one of the most controversial development applications of recent times, the NewsMail yesterday sought to find out more about the man behind the project.
Mr Wei's company Jewel Esplanade is behind the proposed nine-storey development on the Bargara esplanade, which has split the community. Opponents fear if approved more high rises will quickly follow.
Supporters say the project needs to be given the green light to show the region is moving forward and open for business.
Mr Wei's office yesterday advised he was currently overseas.
So we spoke with Bundaberg real estate agent Scott Mackey, a man who has gotten to know Mr Wei closely, with his agency selling Mr Wei the land on which the development is proposed.
The pair have forged a close friendship, with Mr Mackey playing a key role in bringing Mr Wei to invest in the region.
They've spent time with each other's families and developed a mutual respect.
He said many wouldn't know of Mr Wei's giving nature and his support for battling farmers.
Mr Mackey said Mr Wei was an Australian citizen who had lived in Australia for 26 years.
He described him as a successful businessman who had farm interests at Bucca.
Since falling in love with the region, he visits Bundaberg monthly.
Mr Wei is married to Ann, and a father to two, Victor and Linda.
Mr Mackay said Mr Wei opened himself up to people and was a very proud man.
He's the kind of bloke the Rum City should be grateful to have as an ambassador, according to Mr Mackey.
"Mr Wei is always having a ginger beer," he said.
"I see him as another John McLean, John Santalucia or Neil McPhillips style of an ambassador role for our region.
"He is very good at business, I have been twice now to Nanning and seen his many projects, these are the kind of people we want here that are growing a community.
"He wanted to invest in our region because of the sister city link and encourage others to come to the area."
In Chinese culture, there is term, mianzi, which means "to have face".
It's defined as "dignity" or "prestige". Mr Mackey said this was important to Mr Wei in planning the proposed Bargara high-rise.
Mr Mackey said the Bargara development would be the smallest project Mr Wei had invested in.
He said he was the man behind a number of big developments and owned the Twin Creeks Golf Course in Sydney.
He said the project wasn't about money, but about developing the Bundaberg Nanning relationship.
"He is helping to bring the connection between Bundaberg and Nanning," he said.
"Council has the open door policy to grow."
Mr Mackey sat through Tuesday's council briefing meeting.
"If this development doesn't go ahead, Mr Wei is in a position where he can leave the site sit dormant and then revaluate in 10 more years, but that does not help our economic stimulus or demand for modern sizeable property and a restaurant," he said.
Mr Mackey said Mr Wei's development would help inject money into the whole of the region and boost the economy.
"At the moment it's difficult to order a meal past 8pm at any restaurant," he said.
"We want to encourage people to come to Bundaberg from around the world and a lot of international people eat after 8pm.
"Mr Wei's development will have a restaurant to cater for this and it will be open to all."
Mr Mackey described Mr Wei as a "selfless" man, one who is rarely seen in photos as he always the one behind the camera.
"People may not realise he had a couple of trucks sent to the drought farmers," Mr Mackey said.
"He has the attitude to help and support people - he doesn't want to come here and upset people.
"I say to the people who have not met him, they should not form an opinion of him - the same as anyone else you have not met."