Foreshore hotel on track for September

Sophie ElliottBusselton Dunsborough Times
The hotel development is part of the City of Busselton's foreshore master plan.
Camera IconThe hotel development is part of the City of Busselton's foreshore master plan.

Work on a $25 million Hilton Hotel on Busselton’s foreshore could begin in September, according to the project developer.

A lease agreement between property developers Pacifica and the City of Busselton for the prime real estate is expected to be finalised this month and Pacifica director John Zendler revealed to the Times a memorandum of understanding had been signed with Hilton Hotels.

The long-awaited foreshore project is just one of Pacifica’s Hilton Hotel developments in regional WA, with four-star Hilton Garden Inns also slated for Albany and Karratha.

Pacifica stepped in to fill the void left in Busselton’s flagship foreshore redevelopment project when the original preferred developer, Singman Group, withdrew in September, 2017.

Mr Zendler said Pacifica and the City of Busselton had been quietly working behind the scenes, and the project, to be built on Foreshore Parade, was “well progressed”.

“I wouldn’t say there have been any significant delays,” he said.

“We probably expected to have started by now, but there is nothing sinister going on.

“This particular project involves us leasing land from the City at the foreshore so it adds another layer of complexity to a development.

“What we are doing now is really the final 10 per cent, the nuts and bolts, how much we pay — all that has been established. We are now making sure the land transaction allows the hotel to live and breathe through a 50-year life cycle.”

On finalisation of the lease, Pacifica will lodge a development application.

Mr Zendler said Pacifica would be on-site within a month of the approval, taking the starting time for works to around September.

As for the design, Mr Zendler said it was “well evolved” and had already been signed off by Hilton Hotels.

The architecture of the 120-room hotel will draw inspiration from the Busselton Jetty and tie in with the attraction that it will sit adjacent to.

The hotel will have all the usual amenities — pool, bar, restaurant and gym — and a partially outdoor function space on the top floor.

It is set to be situated on the corner of Jetty Way and Foreshore Parade, directly across from Railway House.

The function space will overlook the jetty and Geographe Bay.

Mr Zendler said the extra time taken to work out the complexities of the arrangement had allowed developers to gain a better understanding of what Busselton needed.

“For example, in the first iteration of the design, there wasn’t this top-floor function space which is now a feature of the hotel and something we feel really meets a need in Busselton,” he said. “ So I’m really glad we’ve had that extra time because we are going to deliver a better development for Busselton.”

The development of hotels and commercial spaces on the foreshore is part of the City’s Foreshore Master Plan.

The plan has been delivered in three stages over a decade.

The third stage is nearing completion, with play spaces recently completed, a microbrewery approved and the hotel project progressing.

City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said while key elements of the Busselton Foreshore Master Plan had been completed, the final realisation of the overall plan may take several more years.

“The micro-brewery/family restaurant still needs to be built, and more carpark construction and landscaping work is required — some of which cannot be undertaken until the tennis club has vacated,” he said.

“In addition, council is considering upgrading the eastern section of the foreshore (between the skatepark and the sea rescue building) in a similar manner to the upgrades undertaken west of the Equinox. The foreshore hotel development may have taken longer than some expected, but from our perspective, negotiations are tracking very well.”

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