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Byron Shire
October 17, 2021

Byron Bay Woolies carpark under offer

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The carpark and shops next to the old Woolies in Byron Bay look set to be sold to a developer, raising the prospect of another build on the already-heaving strip.

The Echo has confirmed that the 1.3-acre site, at 90-96 Jonson Street – directly to the north of the old Woolies – is on the market and that an offer has been made.

The old Woolworths carpark site in Byron. Image supplied

The selling agent, Roland Evans from Canford Estate Agents, confirmed that the property was ‘under offer’.

‘The parties are currently doing their due diligence on the site,’ Mr Evans said.

‘That process could take some time.’

Aimed at developers 

While Mr Evans declined to identify the prospective buyer, the real estate listing for the property is clearly aimed at developers.

‘The site presents a rare and possibly final opportunity of this nature for a developer/investor,’ it says.

‘Site Zoning B2 allowing [sic] for a number of development outcomes. Further investigations may allow for residential and/or hotel [sic].’

The property is currently home to an 85-space carpark and 14 shops and restaurants. 

It lies directly adjacent to the old Woolies building, which is itself the subject of a proposal for a $40m mixed-use development that includes a 146-room hotel, function centre, and retail premises. 

Named Essence of Byron, this three-storey proposed development is topped with a private rooftop pool and bar that takes it more than 20 per cent above the 11.5m height limit for central Byron. 

The development’s 7,515 square metres of floor space also represents a 36 per cent exceedance of the floor-space ratio limit for this part of town.

Byron Council’s willingness to allow the Mercato shopping centre to exceed height limits appears to have encouraged the developer to seek further breaches on the Woolies site.

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  1. Will this be a, ‘make over Sec.96 ?
    Or is there a ‘ window of opportunity ‘ here to reimpose the ‘standing height restrictions ‘ if council is forced enough by public pressure?

  2. “Essence Of Byron” haha it is to laugh (or puke!)
    Who makes up these wonderful names?

    Those with memories going back to the 70s or earlier would remember when the “Essence Of Byron” was probably the smell coming from the rail yards, whaling station or abattoir!

    I loved a comment I read decades ago where a fellow journalist/environmental activist wrote “isn’t it amazing how developers invariably name their projects after the very things they have destroyed, eg “Gum Tree Glen” or “Koala Vistas”…”

    Am loving watching the same ambit claim strategies being employed up here as I watched developers pull in Sydney over many many decades.

    Let’s imagine you are a developer.proposing a 10 level development – or in the case of one development at Balgowlah in Sydney, 19 – while knowing this is many times the existing height limit.

    Then you announce you have “listened” to the community and are reducing a few levels from the D/A, even though what you are proposing is still way over the existing height/overshadowing limit – and way higher than what the bulk of locals want.

    The (usually compliant) council asks you to cut it down a couple more levels… hinting they may then approve it (even though your amended proposal would be still higher than the current height limit).

    You reluctantly (in public) comply, and the D/A is approved…however behind closed doors you celebrate, because you have got the development you had wanted in the first place AND got the area height limit increased, a wonderful precedent for you and other developer buddies! Celebration time!

    A classic example of this dance was the Totem shopping mall and apartment complex in Balgowlah, a development which I and other members of that community watched take place.
    The developer eventually got exactly what they wanted in the first place and the community got a hugely oversized development in the middle of their little shopping strip.

    The only thing that made the process a little livelier for the locals was that a wonderful independent councillor (a very loved and respected local doctor, former state member and mayor who had returned to politics after a break) arranged to float large, strong – and strongly tethered – balloons WITH A BLACK ARROW on each one, indicating to the community exactly how tall and wide their proposed development would look like from ground level!!!

    I’m sure I would be able to track him (and where he got these balloons) down if there are Byron councillors (and locals) who would like to employ a similar community education strategy around future proposed developments in your development pressured town! My offer is a genuine one…

  3. Is there any way we can stop this corrupt council.
    It’s called legalized corruption, this sort of corruption has taken over the whole country, in qld they don’t have local councils anymore and no one has any rights left. As long as we allow our local council to continue with there corrupt practices then we have no rights to the future.

  4. I surfed in Byron in the late 60’s / early 70’s when it was a special place of peace, tranquility and natural beauty (and JJ Adams, the abbatoirs only smelt when the wind changed!)
    Now I feel for friends who never left – still captured by the beauty of ocean and mountains – watching as their intimate and friendly local community is turned, indiscriminately, into an events capital, with too much hustle and too much bustle, development and growth the dominant cultural paradigm.
    RIP Byron Bay (unless of course, you come to your collective senses and stop the madness!)


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