Beach Hotel Sold
Byron Bay’s iconic Beach Hotel has sold for $70M. It has been purchased by the Liberman family backed Impact Investment Group. The beachfront property is leased to Melbourne pub industry identity John van Haandel on a 10-year lease with a further 10-year option. Based on the current rental income, the sale price represents a 6.3 percent investment return.
An IIG spokesperson has said the group saw ‘strong potential to regenerate the “heart and soul” of Byron Bay with a strategy focused on achieving bold green and social impact initiatives over a three or four-year period.’ Sounds like corporate spin I know, but apparently IIG does have a history of supporting social investment initiatives like affordable housing and alternative energy so this may be more than just PR jargon. One of their key executives is also now a Byron resident and that may have something to do with the purchase.
Jamie Durie Does Byron
Celebrity gardener and TV personality Jamie Durie has been spending some quality downtime in the Bay. After seeing himself dragged through the courts being sued by ex-manager for over $1M, Mr Durie has been on meditation retreats in Byron with spiritual teacher, Gary Corrow. The next one is at a low key centre in the Pocket in November.
Byron Solar Farm
With the federal pollies getting more and more flustered, it might be time for us all to get behind our mayor’s plan for 100% zero emissions. It is possible the stars may align and we could be getting a commercial solar farm of our own. The installations will be spread around the shire but the main one looks to be at the Council owned land at Vallances Road, with the new sewerage system north of Mullumbimby.
Sourdough predicts the future
Sourdough is a local business support organisation that promotes conscious, sustainable businesses in our region. Their networking lunch on the 22nd of September featured Alex Smith, the CEO of Northern Rivers Regional Development. Bad news for those who think we are full and don’t need any more new locals. Mr Smith thinks that the NBN rollout will be like another highway connecting us as a new major IT and Creative Industry hub. Why wouldn’t you want to live here and still be connected with major business centres? People run small, online businesses based here and commute to the city when required. An example of this is local success story Trip A Deal.com. They are now Byron Shire’s biggest employer since the Ingham chicken factory on Ewingsdale Road closed.
Mr Smith also spoke about our region’s potential for specialty gourmet produce. I have written about this in previous blogs. The potential demand for clean, green value-added foodstuffs to supply the expanding middle classes in Asia is huge.
Out of Town News:
Sydney Buyer drops $277,000 deposit
A Chinese buyer walked away from his $277,000 deposit. Property developer Peter Zhu was buying a property in Bundurra Road Bellevue Hill for $5.5M. His 5% deposit was securing the sale where he was expected to trigger the extensive DA approval on the block for a 4 level mansion with a pool and tennis court.
He is one of several Chinese buyers to walk away from high-end property deals in recent years, with the most high-profile example that of Cate Blanchett’s Hunters Hill mansion, which sold to Richard Mingfeng Gu in 2015 — only to go back on the market and sell for a more conservative $18 million two years later.
Mr Zhu was last in the news last year when named as the sponsor of a controversial program of concerts to be held in Sydney and Melbourne. The concerts were to celebrate the life of Mao Zedong, the revolutionary dictator and founding father of Chinese communism on the 40th anniversary of his death. Seems like the local theatre-going public did have the same affection for murderous dictators.
Cities in a Bubble
International investment bank UBS has a released a report listing cities that are in danger of being in a property bubble. Toronto and London are at the top of the list but Sydney and Vancouver are included. The report states that Chinese investors are just one of the drivers causing excessive property growth in these cities.
However, Market Economics Managing Director Stephen Koukoulas said that while prices in Sydney were high, describing the Sydney market as a bubble was “a bit extreme, especially in light of the recent numbers in terms of population. There could be an issue if we had a significant cooling period in growth, but if anything it is the opposite.” The average real annual price rise in Sydney has been 3.5 percent since 1980, which was the greatest among all the cities featured.