Ocean Drive land sale collapses

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

A deal over a prime block of land in Bunbury has fallen through, making it the third failed attempt to develop the vacant ocean-side property.

Mayor Gary Brennan announced to Bunbury City Council at its meeting this week that the deal over Lot 66 Ocean Drive was no longer going ahead after the buyer advised it would not be proceeding.

It came six months after the council voted to enter into a contract with the Pfuhl Family Trust and just a week after Mr Brennan told the South Western Times he was confident the deal would still go ahead.

The property has been marred with 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 and Chinese investors abandoning plans for a hotel site in 2011.

The Pfuhl family’s Celestine Pfuhl told the Times the family was “absolutely” disappointed it could not go ahead with plans, but ultimately it “came down to the numbers”.

“That’s the same for any developer, the fact that if you can’t earn any money, why would you do it?” Ms Pfuhl said.

“It is a really tough market at the moment, so you have to be realistic in your figures.

“We had to be very realistic, we gave it to some developers and the numbers that came back just weren’t going to give us any profit.”

Ms Pfuhl said the decision had little to do with the council and the block’s marred history could be put down to a number of factors.

“What’s expected to be built on these blocks is high density, with that in mind obviously there is a large amount of cost with high density and I can understand them wanting to put high density there, it’s a beautiful spot,” she said.

“That could be a factor as well in a lot of people’s numbers, the higher you build, the higher it costs.”

Mr Brennan said he was disappointed with the outcome, but agreed there had to be a return.

“Undoubtedly it will be marketed again and we’ll wait on our officers to come back with a report to council on the way they feel we should progress,” he said.

He said it was “perplexing” that Ocean Drive was not being picked up by investors.

“It’s quite perplexing that there hasn’t been any development along there for all these years,” he said.

“We’re seeing development within Koombana ... It’s only a matter of time, I’ve got no doubt that all that land will be developed.”

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