23 February 2023

Towering developments likely on key Batemans Bay site

| Kim Treasure
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The former Batemans Bay Bowling Club site

A development up to 70 metres high has been proposed for this gateway site in Batemans Bay. Photo: Kim Treasure.

Motorists driving into Batemans Bay could be met by a development almost four times the height of the nearby IRT building if current proposals are given the green light.

Eurobodalla Shire Council has approved the sale of the former Batemans Bay bowling club site, with general manager Warwick Winn to engage in talks with two different developers; however, it can’t progress until Batemans Bay’s building height limits are reviewed.

Proposals for the site require heights ranging from 30 to 70 metres. The IRT building near the Village Centre stands at just 18 metres, the current Local Environment Plan limit.

Council bought the Vesper St land, which sits adjacent to the Bay Pavilions Arts and Aquatic Centre, in 2016, recognising its commercial potential and significance as a gateway site integral to the town’s future development.

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The land was initially leased to Transport for NSW for use as a depot during construction of the Batemans Bay bridge. As that work drew to a close in 2021, council engaged a real estate agent to seek expressions of interest on its behalf, resulting in four different parties providing 10 different offers.

The offers reflect the community’s desire to see tourist accommodation, conference facilities, restaurants and cafes, and residential accommodation, priorities first established when the site was purchased in 2016. Affordable housing was recently added to that mix.

Mr Winn said proposals to develop the site were assessed against social and financial impact, strategic alignment and risk, with proposals from two parties clearly superior.

Anytime Fitness and the IRT Batemans Bay

The IRT building, behind Anytime Fitness, would be dwarfed by the proposals. Photo: Kim Treasure.

“Councillors approved the sale of the land and gave me the go-ahead to pursue the more detailed negotiations with these two developers and finalise negotiations with one of them,” Mr Winn said.

“Councillors will be kept fully informed as negotiations progress, and once they’re complete, I’ll bring those details back for council consideration and final decision.”

Mr Winn said all 10 proposals included a mix of hotel and residential options, with hotels ranging up to 200 rooms and residential units up to 350. There were differences in the amount of affordable, seniors and specialised or disability housing.

The actual sale will need to wait until the building height limits are reviewed. All current proposals for the gateway site require heights ranging from 30 to 70 metres, with most between 25 and 30 metres.

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Mr Winn said height variations were expected in the expression of interest process.

“From the beginning of this lengthy process, council has been determined to encourage innovative ideas for this site and achieve the best outcome for the community,” he said.

“Council is currently undertaking a master planning exercise for the Batemans Bay CBD and the community will have a chance to share their ideas and views on heights, and a range of other matters, as part of that process.

“This is an exciting opportunity to secure the best potential for a key gateway site in Batemans Bay, and it’s not just about the commercial return for the ratepayer but other things the community holds dear, like the pressing need for affordable housing.”

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cannedbeeria6:28 pm 23 Feb 23

When I read the word “exciting” in relation to a development, it rings alarm bells.
Regarding the reviewing of height limits, let’s be honest here: why not say simply the developers WANT to increase the height limit?
And why say “The IRT building near the Village Centre stands at “just” 18 metres”? Is that to imply it’s a small height limit?
Lets have a survey. Ask te Batemans Bay poluplation if it’s ok to increase the height limit by almost four times?

Paul Sullivan2:08 pm 23 Feb 23

Who was the Real Estate Agent Council engaged with (gave the job to, I guess)?
Were all Agents allowed to tender for the job of selling of our land.
Does the engaged Agent have any connections to current or past councillors or Senior Staff?

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