$11m project back on track after court slashes costs

AN $11 million redevelopment of the old Byron Shire Council Chambers in Lawson St will go ahead following a Land and Environment Court ruling.

The redevelopment of the former chambers, now operating as Main Beach Backpackers, into a 316-bed hostel had been on hold for the better part of a decade while the owner appealed $3.1 million in developer contributions being charged by Byron Shire Council.

"We had to get that resolved before we could go ahead," developer Steve Agnew of Beachbreak Developments told The Northern Star.

The recent Land and Environment Court decision reduced the developer contributions to $800,000 and Mr Agnew said that made the project viable.

He will be seeking expressions of interest from equity partners with the goal of beginning construction after Easter 2015.

The business currently has 90 beds, with the extension to 316 beds expected to take approximately 18 months from the start of construction.

Mr Agnew bought the building from council in 1996, but had struggled to move ahead with the project under the previous Greens-led council.

He said this week that the current council, led by Greens mayor Simon Richardson had been a "breath of fresh air".

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