Dozers lay groundwork for Byron CBD project
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
HE HAS been working towards it for eight years, and this week Tom Mooney's ambitious plans for the extension of the Great Northern Hotel at Byron Bay began to take shape.
The Byron Village development, in the heart of the Byron Bay CBD, will incorporate 30 apartments, 27 bedsitters, a dozen shops, four restaurants and two levels of underground parking for up to 240 vehicles.
After more than a few battles with the former Byron Shire Council, including fighting for approval through the courts, the project gained approval earlier this year, including the use of a recycled grey-water system for the apartment's toilets.
When asked what the project would be worth, Mr Mooney said that after being so long in the pipeline he 'had no idea' what it would now cost.
"I'm excited," Mr Mooney said as bulldozers razed the remaining three older houses and two shops on the 4000 square metre development site, between Byron and Fletcher streets.
While the bulldozers were creating a lot of interest yesterday, construction is a fair way off. Even once it starts in June or July next year, Mr Mooney said the project would take at least 15 to 18 months to complete.
"The demolition of these old houses was more out of concern for people's safety. There were squatters in there and we were concerned about the fire risk. They were an eyesore," Mr Mooney said.
Partnering Mr Mooney in the Byron Village apartments and commercial project is Great Northern investment partner John Perkin. The project was designed by local architect, Christine Vadasz.
"This development will finish off the centre of town and it will provide urgentlyneeded car parking," Mr Mooney said.