Becton puts prime site up for sale

The huge anti-Becton protest gathering at Byron Bay’s Main Beach in 2003.
The huge anti-Becton protest gathering at Byron Bay’s Main Beach in 2003.
Becton’s controversial tourist development plans for the prime Byron Bay Beach Resort site are dead and buried.
The troubled Melbourne-based development company has put the 88ha beachfront site up for sale with expressions of interest closing on May 7.
 A Becton spokesman said the company continued to look at all of its options in respect of the site, renamed Northbeach Byron, including a potential sale of the property.
“To this end, we have appointed Colliers and First National Byron Bay to conduct a four week expression of interest campaign,” the spokesman said.
“We are only in the first week of the campaign and as such, it would be premature to speculate on any outcome.”
Chris Hanley, principal of Byron Bay First National, said Becton was very confident the site would sell and had already received a number of approaches.
“It has only been on the market a week and the telephone has been running hot,” he said.
“I have taken plenty and so have Colliers.”
Becton bought the site from the troubled Club Med group in 2001 for $12.8 million, a big loss for the French-based group which had bought the site for $16 million in 1991.
Club Med had fought a long battle with the local community over its plans to redevelop the site and Becton also became involved in a similar fight.
The ‘Bugger off Becton’ campaign against the company culminated in a big rally at Main Beach which was televised nationally on the Channel 9 Today Show.
However, Becton won the support of the State Government with Planning Minister of the time, Frank Sartor, ‘calling in’ the development application in 2005 after three years of discussions between Becton and Byron Council.
In August 2007, Mr Sartor approved the $51 million first stage of the development which would have seen the construction of 117 holiday homes with the completed project totalling 354 holiday homes.
After closing the resort last August, Becton announced late last year that it had put the redevelopment of the site on hold because of world market conditions.
Mr Hanley said the site was still approved for a caravan park, tourist cabins and holiday houses.
Becton would not comment on what price they had put on the site, but one Sydney newspaper report put it at around $25 million.

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