Mayor upbeat on land deal despite lag

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Back Beach, Bunbury.
Camera IconBack Beach, Bunbury. Credit: Simon Santi / The West Australian

Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan is confident a deal over a prime waterfront property with a marred history will go ahead, despite a sale contract still not finalised six months on.

Lot 66 Ocean Drive in Bunbury remains vacant and a sale price is yet to be revealed after Bunbury City Council accepted an offer on the block of land in July last year.

At the time, plans were revealed for an impressive mixed use and residential development on the block adjacent to Bunbury’s Back Beach.

But Mr Brennan confirmed the contract was still being finalised and the buyers – the Pfuhl Family Trust – were waiting on construction prices.

“Once they know the current cost of what they want to build, they’ll then make a final decision,” Mr Brennan said.

Despite the obvious lag in progress, Mr Brennan said he was confident the deal would go ahead.

“It’s frustrating but it’s a big investment and people have got to be very careful about when they invest their money they need to get a reasonable return on that investment,” he said.

“Whilst we have significant investment occurring – privately and through the government – it’s still a pretty tough time for many.

“They’ve got to be very cautious about whether they proceed or not.

“I hope they do, I’m reasonably confident they will but at the moment we haven’t got a definitive response from them.”

The South Western Times spoke to a member of the Pfuhl family who would not make any comment while they waited for costings.

The prime block of beachside land has been marred by failed concepts after a 2016 deal fell through with developers failing to comply with a condition to pay for rezoning and a structure plan within 12 months.

It was also earmarked as a hotel site in 2011, but Chinese investors abandoned plans blaming the economy’s financial downturn.

The sale price remains under wraps, but the block was valued around the $2.2 million mark in 2016 when a $1.98 million deal was negotiated.

Mr Brennan said it was “frustrating” the price was not yet public information and previously conceded property prices had decreased “significantly” over the past few years.

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