Last bit of undeveloped Byron beachfront could net owner over $40m

A line of beachfront blocks in Byron Bay left empty for almost a decade could sell for more than $40 million.

It's the last section of private beachfront land to be developed in Byron, where much of the coastline is National Park and Nature Reserve or Coastal Land zones.

The 11 vacant properties last sold for $4 million in 2002, as part of a larger site that was later subdivided into 20 blocks.

Nine non-beachfront blocks have already been offloaded by the owner - which records show is Kendall Street Developments of which Tony Alford, former chief executive of Gold Coast's Retail Food Group, is the director and secretary.

The remaining 11, which span a 9708-square-metre site on Belongil Beach, are expected to fetch more than $40 million.

Since the properties hit the market several weeks ago, selling agent Graham Dunn, of Graham Dunn Real Estate Byron Bay, has fielded more than 450 enquiries.

"I've been getting smashed," he said. "It's my first time I've ever seen one vacant house block on this beach, let alone 11 and the interest is huge."

"[Most interested buyers are] families trying to buy a spot for their ultimate dream home," he said. "And we've had enquires from all parts of the world, New York, London, Dubai and more."

The vacant land, currently used by some as a makeshift car park, was previously home to Byron Bay's Epicentre building - a former abattoir transformed into creative studios in the 1980s. The building was demolished in early 2008.

Over the years development applications have been lodged for the original 2.17 hectare site to house everything from a horse riding centre to an open-air cinema, and a 44-room motel.

Plans were then lodged to build 45 homes on the site, but the development application was later withdrawn. Instead the land was subdivided into 20 blocks and a public road was put in place.

The move appears to have paid off, with the owner having made more than $8 million for the nine properties previously sold between 2012 and 2016, according to price records.

With Mr Dunn expecting the latest released blocks to sell for more than $40 million - the owner could make more than $48 million in total - 12 times the $4 million he paid for it.

"It's the last big, serious piece of vacant real estate," he said.

"It would be perfect for a hotel ... but it's not zoned for that, just houses," he added. "And there'd be a bit of blood on the streets if they changed the zoning."

However along with wonderful ocean views, life on Belongil Beach also comes with community concerns about beach erosion and how best to deal with it.

Existing Belongil residents have previously taken legal action against council in a bid to keep existing seawalls in front of their homes and there is long-running debate about the construction of new walls.

"There are [erosion bags] in place in front of the blocks," Mr Dunn said of the properties. He refers interested buyers to the area's development control plans for more information.

"I'm guiding everyone towards the DCP so they know exactly what it is, and pointing them to local architects who are really familiar with it and know it's still seriously workable."

The sale comes off the back of price falls in Byron Bay, with the region's median house price dropping 3.7 per cent over the three months to September, according to Domain's latest State of the Market report. Sydney's median by comparison dropped 1.9 per cent.

However, the region is still the most expensive NSW market outside Greater Sydney, with a median house price of $820,000, which is up 8.3 per cent over the year.

Long-time Byron agent Chris Hanley, director of Byron Bay First National Real Estate, said the market was still strong.

"There are still strong buyers and we're still seeing strong enquiry," he said. "Prices have come back a little bit off the average [we were seeing] but it was very high."

He estimated about half of the homes his agency sold went to investors, and the other half to owner-occupiers.

Mr Hanley said the rise of short-term letting meant more buyers were using their properties as a holiday home for a few weeks a year, then renting out to other holidaymakers for the rest.

The 11 blocks up for sale range from 632 square metres to 1278 square metres, with their respective price guides ranging from $2.5 million to $6 million.

Tenders for the blocks close on November 9.

This story Last bit of undeveloped Byron beachfront could net owner over $40m first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.