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Developer steps up for hotel

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Busselton Mayor Grant Henley remains optimistic about the foreshore redevelopment.
Camera IconBusselton Mayor Grant Henley remains optimistic about the foreshore redevelopment. Credit: Taelor Pelusey

Pacifica Developments has stepped in to fill one of the voids left in the City of Busselton’s flagship foreshore redevelopment project after two key hotel builders could not secure finance.

Hotel Development Group and Singman Group were last year named as the preferred developers for sites 1 and 2 respectively of the Busselton Foreshore Master Plan.

But their “preferred proponent” status — each extended from July — expired on September 30, and neither proposal will be pursued.

Busselton Mayor Grant Henley told the Times he could not speculate on the financial backers’ reasons for not proceeding, but understood from discussions with the developers “the airport uncertainty wasn’t helpful to their financing issues”.

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Amid the State Government’s “value optimisation review” of the Busselton-Margaret River Regional Airport, the Times reported in August investors were unsettled and major projects were being put at risk.

Singman officially withdrew on September 6 and in a letter to the City, Singman chairman George Chapman said its financial partner, Frontier Capital Group, was “unable to fulfil their commitment” and no other “suitably qualified financial partner” could step in.

In an email, Hotel Development Group managing director Roger Foster told the City the group didn’t realise the site would not be available until 2018 or 2019, after the tennis courts were relocated, but expressed interest in the site formerly offered to Singman.

But City officers concluded the Group had not demonstrated progress and, given Mr Foster had stated he was yet to “determine a cornerstone investor”, have recommended site 2 go to Pacifica.

Busselton City Council will vote on Wednesday whether to endorse Pacifica and its plans for a 4.5 star development comprising 120 rooms, rooftop bar, board room and other facilities.

Despite the loss of two developers, Cr Henley remained optimistic on the redevelopment project’s future.

“With the foreshore nearing completion and the airport proceeding pretty much as planned we have now received further interest from other hotel developers,” he said.

“We will continue to work with interested parties towards delivering the best fit for the precinct.”

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