Sydney developer buys Byron Bay backpackers

The central Byron Bay site spreads just over an acre.

Podia has snapped up a development site in Bryon Bay’s main retail strip with plans for a mixed-use project.

The Byron Bay Backpackers is costing $18.55 million.

It was offered by the occupier after 38 years; JLL’s John Musca and Elliott O’Shea were the agents.

The Sydney based purchaser paid cash.

“We are thrilled to add this rare site to our growing pipeline of projects,” its head of development, Michael Grassi said.

“There is no other place globally quite like Byron Bay and together with architects Richards & Spence we are developing a scheme for the site that will contribute positively to Byron Bay’s identity and its town centre”.

Jonson Street development pipeline

Byron Bay Backpackers occupies a 4287 square metre site at 116-118 Jonson St.

The Mercato on Byron and Palace Cinema were completed next door two years ago (story continues below).

The Beach Hotel, which Moelis acquired for c$100m in late 2019, is at the end of the street.

A four-star hotel with ground floor is proposed for the ex-Woolworths site nearby (that 4128 sqm site, 98-106 Jonson St, is presently for sale).

Another retail centre is earmarked adjoining that; #90-96 recently sold for $29.6m.

Mr Musca said #116-118 was listed amid a buoyant backdrop; several eight-figure major residential deals took place.

Local and offshore capital is chasing its commercial product including development sites, he added.

“Specifically Jonson St has been a key area of focus for Byron’s commercial market,” according to the agent.

All but one of the 26 dwellings in the Jonson Lane complex at 139 South Jonson St, “served as a barometer” for local demand, he said.

About 2.2 million people a year visit Byron Bay.

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Marc Pallisco

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