Byron Bay’s Monopoly Board

February 27th, 2024

Byron Bay’s Monopoly Board

2024-02-27 04:17


As it says on the box, Byron Ballina is now worthy of a Monopoly game. This month’s Hot Property looks at the retail strip in the heart of Byron Bay, our equivalent of Mayfair/ Park Lane. The centre of town is about to have a completely new look as the sites around the old Woolworths plaza get redeveloped.

The Bonobo by Rae’s, 116-118 Jonson St

The old Byron Bay Backpackers site is now under construction with a new boutique apartment hotel to be called The Bonobo. Antony Catalano, who runs Rae’s at Wategos is behind it. The 2-bed apartments start at $2.5M and the 3-bed, 2-story duplex apartments are around $3.5M. The complex is being pitched to investors for the holiday-let market expecting increased turnover after Airbnb moves to the 60-day limit. More than half are sold already with the duplex-style upper levels the first to go. Owners are restricted to a maximum of 90 days occupancy each year. The expected completion date is March next year. It is marketed by Helene Adams at Atlas Byron Bay.


The Mercato, 108-114 Jonson St

The Mercato set the trend for this kind of thing on Jonson Street when it was developed back in 2018. It has shopping and restaurants including Woolworths and the Palace Cinema. The building received a lot of flack when it was completed and only partly because it was the first major build like this. It went through a few design changes to achieve a Greenstar rating and an atrium to avoid air conditioning throughout. Unfortunately, the financiers who took control from the original developer, Roberto Baddalotti, cut corners and the top floor has never really worked.


Old Woolworths site, 98 – 106 Jonson St

This 5,521 m2 Woolworths site was last bought by the same company owning Mercato. Task Group Services, a Melbourne financier, purchased both sites for a total of $119 mil – which many in the market thought was too much. That was $91 mil for the Mercato and $28 mil for 98-106, the Woolworths site.

The old Woolworths building is now the home of Otherworld while the owners figure out what to do with the site. No new DA has yet been lodged. Otherworld is an innovative venture by Byron’s ex-mayor, Simon Richardson, and events producer, Chris Decker. It is well worth a look and I encourage people to go. I assumed it was only for a trippy night out for teens after a couple of cones. It is family-friendly and for all ages and any time of day (10 am – 10 PM). In their own words –OTHERWORLD is an immersive, interactive gathering space where each step is a discovery, each corner a canvas of colour. Experience the immersive 360 VR Dome, and interact with giant video walls that respond to your every move.


The Bohemian, 90 – 96 Jonson St

The Bohemian is to be a residential, rental, and retail complex. This is on the old site formerly known as the Woolworths Plaza. The site was purchased for $24.5 mil in February 2022,  by a company called Project Bohemian. It will comprise 44 apartments, a rooftop pool, street-front shops and an eatery section to be dubbed “Spice Lane”. This one is part of the Luxcon Group.


115 and 111 Jonson St

Across the road, on the corner of Jonson and Kingsley Street was the old Cheeky Monkeys nightclub.  That, the two shops on the same title, plus the next two shops (Belle and Ford and Red Ginger Asian grocery) were sold to Justin Hemmes’ Merevale hotel company. There was a lot of speculation on what these sites cost Hemmes, but online it says $23.4 mil for the combined two titles of 1832 M2. Those who have seen the DA say it should be more low-key and not bulky like across the road.

As previously reported in earlier BPS newsletters, Justin Hemmes also purchased a beachfront property at Belongil and intends to spend time here. “I’ve been going to Byron since I was 10 years old, it has always been a place close to my heart,” he has said.

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