The millionaire Sydney developer behind the controversial West Byron subdivision is believed to have bought the disused former Inghams chicken factory site further along Ewingsdale Road.
Terry Agnew, owner of Tower Holdings, the major landowner of the West Byron land which the government has approved for rezoning for housing and commercial, is said among local real-estate circles to be the new owner of the processing plant and 40 acre-lot around it.
The land and factory at 268 Ewingsdale Road is believed to have been sold for around $3 million. It was advertised around the country in the past few months as a ‘rare Byron Bay land holding’.
Echonetdaily has yet to receive comment on the purchase from Tower Holdings.
It is unknown what plans the new owner has for the land and factory.
A Byron Bay Property Sales agent told Echonetdaily the factory had been sold with contracts exchanged recently and settlement due soon, following an extensive marketing campaign,
But the price and purchaser details were confidential, the agent said.
Scores of jobs were lost when Inghams closed the factory last year, after the company deemed the facility too old and inefficient.
Speculation at the time was that Inghams planned to sell the Byron Bay property to Woolworths.
Mr Agnew, a prominent Sydney CBD developer, bought a sizable chunk, or around 80 per cent of the 108 hectares of land involved in the West Byron subdivision (opposite the arts and industry estate) after buying out another company, Crighton Properties, early last year, for around $7 million.
His Tower Holdings own a swag of properties, including a luxury Great Keppel Island resort, where a $2.5 billion redevelopment is planned in partnership with former world No 1 golfer Greg Norman.
The company bought the resort for $16.5 million in 2008 before shutting it down and unveiling ambitious plans for the luxury resort and casino.
However, plans for the casino at the resort were knocked back by the Queensland government.
Mr Agnew’s plans initially were thwarted by environmental concerns such as illegal tree clearing, and in 2013 year he finally gained approval for a reduced 250-berth marina precinct, 750 resort villas and 300 apartments, a hotel and an 18-hole golf course.
At the time Mr Agnew bought into the West Byron development last year, his company’s PR firm said ‘The entire landowner group, including Tower Holdings, is committed to making West Byron a vibrant community that integrates with the social fabric of the Byron area’.
News Corp last year reported the purchase of the 450 house and land subdivision at West Byron as well as a 51-lot industrial subdivision in a $7.7 million deal, saying Mr Agnew planned to sell the house and land packages on 600-square-metre lots for $750,000-$800,000.
It is understood he is considering retaining half of the house and land packages as investments given suburban houses in Byron Bay rent for at least $900 a week,’ the News Corp report said.
The West Byron land at 6 Ewingsdale Road was bought as part of a receivership sale from Crighton Properties.
Regarding the GKI Resort, the casino was never mentioned in the initial advice statement. Tower has had trouble getting investment for the development then the Newman Government announced that 3 new casino licences would be made available. Towers application was rejected. Tower believes that a casino licence would make it easier to sell the idea of the project. Wherever Terry Agnew goes, controversy follows and social and environmental matters take a nosedive.