Shop top project to expand Byron Bay’s retail centre

A proposed Secret Garden apartment.

Byron Bay’s commercial heart will spread a little further south with developer Jason Dunn and ex-Seek director, Robert Watson, winning approval for a retail and apartment project on the south east corner of Jonson and Kingsley streets, opposite Justin Hemmes’ ex-Cheeky Monkey bar.

A resident only rooftop pool, earmarked for 119-123 Jonson Street.

Proposed to be fossil free with 10 ground floor retail and hospitality tenancies forming 25 per cent of the gross floor area, 22 residences on the second and third levels, 85 basement car parks, 12 bike bays and storage, will launch next month.

Branded Secret Garden – a nod to the events club and music venue part of it will be built on – the design also includes a resident-only rooftop wellness centre with magnesium pool, sauna, meditation space and spa.

A BBQ area and teppanyaki grill is at ground.

The body corporate will also support a private concierge.

Amalgamated supersite

The project aims to be fossil free with an eight star NatHERS rating; sustainability initiatives include glazing, water efficient fixtures and a ventilation strategy.

The executive’s JD Property Group paid the Anglican church $13 million for the Secret Garden component, 119-121 Jonson St, in September, 2021.

This site, a gift by the Flick family in the 1890s, became a preschool then toy library.

It traded as the hospitality venue since 2015 until four months ago.

In April, 2022, Mr Dunn and Mr Watson outlaid $7.6m for the neighbouring holding, creating the 2725 square metre amalgamation (story continues below).

A penthouse balcony at 119-123 Jonson Street.

The proposed development was lodged mid-last year.

Controversially, it sought to increase the local height limit from nine metres to 13.1m.

Its approval will see all buildings on the sites razed.

Multi-million dollar apartments

Secret Garden will include four four bedroom apartments with penthouses to be priced at over $4m.

There are also six two bedroom units – asking $2.45m plus.

The balance of the units will contain three bedrooms.

The complex will also front Middleton Lane.

Across the road, Mr Hemmes’ Merivale is seeking to spend $1.4m repurposing the ex-Cheeky Monkey bar and a neighbouring shop, bought in 2021 for $13.5m, into a swank hospitality venue.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of