Fortuna Villa subdivision plan gains state approval

Fortuna Villa owner Paul Banks. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY
Fortuna Villa owner Paul Banks. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

THE state government has approved the subdivision of the Fortuna Villa site, paving the way for two large residential developments and a commercial tourism site.

Fortuna Villa owner Paul Banks said planning minister Matthew Guy approved his application for a three-block subdivision on Thursday. 

The three blocks include the Fortuna Villa itself, which the minister has approved to be rezoned as a commercial tourism site and two other sites, of two-and-a-half and seven acres in size, to become residential zones. 

Mr Banks said the two residential zones were ready for sale. 

"We will now go back to council for the permit process so they can then have titles prepared and future developers can purchase them and turn them into high and medium density residential zones," Mr Banks said. 

Mr Banks said he was in talks with real estate agents and some developers interested in the residential sites.

"We’re just waiting for somebody to show us the money I suppose," he said. 

"I’m mainly talking to agents and not direct to developers but there are a few who are showing their interest, they’re just doing their research and we’re willing and able to listen to any of them.

"The seven-acre block could have 70 or 80 allotments on it."

Mr Banks said density of the housing would be up to the developer. 

"You could fit a lot on them but that will depend on the developer who purchases the property."

He said the new residences would be in an attractive location.

"Not many people can buy houses in the botanical gardens and that’s what this is like," he said. 

"This is overlooking the villa and garden and lake."

He said he was also in discussion with retirement village companies.

Mr Banks said the two residential sites were zoned in a "very liberal way" for any body wanting to develop them.

"Whoever comes in there has got a great opportunity to make money with good margin," he said.  

But he said there would be some constraints because of the nearby Fortuna Villa. 

"I’m the neighbour of this development and it's also got heritage overlay on it so there will be strict conditions they will have to abide by."

Mr Banks said Fortuna Villa was being renovated and would eventually be open to the public. 

"We’ve already completed one side of the mansion and we're now starting on the other side, which is a lot more work. And we are beautifying a lot of the military buildings and replacing a lot of the bitumen with garden," he said.

Mr Banks said he would apply to council for permits to run cafes, weddings and a boutique hotel when the renovations were complete. 

He said the planning minister's approval meant he could "sit down with council" and begin the permit process. 

"It means all our hard work has come to where we want it to be," he said.


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