Top dol­lar for one old shack

Townsville Bulletin - - News - By LAU­RIE MILLS

ONE of the last of the orig­i­nal beach shacks built 40 years ago in Air­lie Beach has been sold for $565,000.

The quar­ter-acre block (1000sqm) in Beach Road — one minute’s walk from Can­non­vale beach — was snapped up by lo­cal ar­chi­tect Ken Down who will ex­pand plans drawn up for the two neigh­bour­ing blocks for pres­tige res­i­den­tial units.

The block was put on the mar­ket in May at $650,000 but Joel McBride, of PRD Na­tion­wide, said it drew lit­tle re­sponse from po­ten­tial buy­ers.

‘‘When it went on the mar­ket, I con­tacted Mr Down know­ing he had the neigh­bour­ing blocks and had ap­proval to build 12-14 units on them,’’ Mr McBride said.

‘‘He wasn’t in­ter­ested at the orig­i­nal ask­ing price and, af­ter some ne­go­ti­a­tion over a cou­ple of months, the owner set­tled on the $565,000 of­fer,’’ Mr McBride said.

Wade John­son, an ar­chi­tect with Mr Down’s com­pany, said new plans would be drawn up for the three blocks.

‘‘They’ll be known as Kahula, af­ter a pres­ti­gious Hawai­ian de­vel­op­ment, and some will have sea views.

‘‘They will be a mix­ture of twoand three-bed­room units, and will be de­signed to have a nice trop­i­cal theme in keep­ing with the area,’’ Mr John­son said.

Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to start mid-2007.

Mr McBride said the price was on a par with other re­cent sales nearby but was con­sid­er­ably cheaper than a beach­front home which sold for $1.1 mil­lion.

But the price shows how land val­ues have sky­rock­eted in Air­lie Beach — the orig­i­nal owner, re­tired Proser­pine busi­ness­man Bernie Lewis, paid six pounds ($12) for the block in the 1960s.

He cleared the block and built a two-bed­room fi­bro house in his spare time.

‘‘Get­ting ma­te­ri­als in was not a prob­lem as Reg Ansett was just de­vel­op­ing Hamil­ton Is­land and had the main road built from the high­way,’’ he said.

‘‘The Lands De­part­ment had put up the land for six pounds a quar­ter-acre block but no-one turned up for the auc­tion. I got the block a bit later.

‘‘You have to re­mem­ber it was all just bush then. There was no Air­lie or Shute Har­bour back then.

‘‘I wanted to put up some flats but the coun­cil knocked the per­mit back. I was told there was no fu­ture in tourism in Air­lie!

‘‘I ended up sell­ing it years ago to put the money into the busi­ness,’’ Mr Lewis said.

SOME SHACK . . . ar­chi­tect Wade John­son and PRD’s Joel McBride shake on the $565,000 deal for one of the last Air­lie beach shacks

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