Freedomroo – Justin Hemmes splurges $70m on a block of land in Byron Bay – as ‘mega venue’ plans are revealed

New buy: Pub baron Justin Hemmes, 48, (pictured) is understood to have splurged $50million on a giant block of land in Byron Bay, with plans to spend another $20million on building a 'mega venue' similar to the Coogee Pavilion

Pub baron Justin Hemmes has finalised negotiations to purchase a huge block of land in the heart of the celebrity-soaked tourist town of Byron Bay, a report claims. 

The Merivale boss has splurged $50million on the sprawling block in NSW’s hottest beachside town, which formerly housed a Woolworths supermarket, according to The Sunday Herald Sun,

Hemmes is said to be planning a $20million redevelopment of the site to create a new ‘mega venue’ similar in layout and style to his popular Coogee Pavilion establishment in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.  

New buy: Pub baron Justin Hemmes, 48, (pictured) is understood to have splurged $50million on a giant block of land in Byron Bay, with plans to spend another $20million on building a ‘mega venue’ similar to the Coogee Pavilion 

The massive block on Byron’s Johnson Street spans 4,128sqm and has a flexible B2 Local Centre zoning, which allows for mixed-use ­development such as retail, residential and hotels.  

The Byron Bay property market has become a hot-spot for rich investors, particularly since the Covid pandemic hit, with many hoping to buy a slice of Australia’s hottest holiday destination. 

The town’s value is only expected to soar once international tourists again return to Australia. 

However, there has also been a local rebellion, with locals refusing to sell to cashed-up investors, despite big offers. 

'Mega venue': The site, located on Byron's Johnson St spans 4,128sqm and supports a flexible B2 Local Centre zoning, which allows for a wide range of mixed-use ­development this includes retail, residential and hotels

‘Mega venue’: The site, located on Byron’s Johnson St spans 4,128sqm and supports a flexible B2 Local Centre zoning, which allows for a wide range of mixed-use ­development this includes retail, residential and hotels 

Byron Battle: Stu Laundy (left) and Justin were said to be in a fierce battle to buy the iconic Pacific Hotel in Yamba, close to the New South Wales coastal town of Byron Bay back in March

Byron battle: It comes months after a handful of rejected offers to buy some of Byron Bay’s landmark pubs. Stu Laundy (pictured) and Justin were said to be in a fierce battle to buy the iconic Pacific Hotel in Yamba, close to Byron Bay

In March, neither hotelier Justin nor his pub baron rival Stu Laundy could offer enough money to secure the historic Bangalow Hotel, which is 14km inland from Byron Bay. 

The rival pub barons became locked in a bidding war for the 60-year-old pub, which is owned by NRL star Tom Mooney and wife Cathryn, with the top bid reaching a staggering $50 million.  

However, both  despite the huge money on offer, neither was successful, with the Mooney family holding firm and declaring the pub would be in their hands for the foreseeable future. 

At war: The rival pub barons were reportedly locked in a bidding war for the 60-year-old pub (pictured) which is currently owned by NRL star Tom Mooney and wife Cathryn, with bids reaching up to $50 million

At war: The rival pub barons were reportedly locked in a bidding war for the 60-year-old pub (pictured) which is currently owned by NRL star Tom Mooney and wife Cathryn, with bids reaching up to $50 million 

The family also own the The Rails Hotel in Byron Bay and The Pacific Hotel in Yamba, which is an hour-and-a-half south of Byron. 

Laundy and Hemmes were also reportedly also eyeing off The Pacific Hotel. 

However, it’s unclear whether that property was part of the Bangalow Hotel negotiations or whether the Pacific Hotel is still on the table. 

Still up for grabs? Laundy and Hemmes were also reportedly also eyeing off The Pacific Hotel last week, according to The Herald Sun last month

Still up for grabs? Laundy and Hemmes were also reportedly also eyeing off The Pacific Hotel last week, according to The Herald Sun last month 

Laundy and Hemmes have been locked in a bidding war, as it’s understood the pair recently battled over Chris Hemsworth’s local watering hole The Lennox Hotel in nearby Lennox Head.

Bachelorette star Laundy, in partnership with hotelier Fraser Short, purchased The Lennox Hotel with an offer of close to $40million.  

In August last year, Laundy and Fraser confirmed they had also bought Byron Bay’s trendy venue The Farm for $16 million.

Laundy, who appeared on Channel 10’s The Bachelorette in 2017, has a share of his family’s $500 million fortune. 

Cha-ching! Laundy, who appeared on Channel 10's The Bachelorette in 2017, has a share of his family's $500 million fortune

Cha-ching! Laundy, who appeared on Channel 10’s The Bachelorette in 2017, has a share of his family’s $500 million fortune 

Hemmes’ family’s fortune is worth about $1.06 billion.  

His property portfolio includes the Sydney pubs, Beresford Hotel in Surry Hills, which he bought in 2010, the Queen Victoria Hotel in Enmore in 2015 and Bondi’s Royal Hotel, which he bought in 2017. 

Hemmes also recently bought his ex Kate Fowler a $7.5 million mansion Dover Heights, which is Sydney’s most exclusive suburbs.

Fortune: Meanwhile, Hemmes and his family's empire is believed to be worth around $1.06 billion

Fortune: Meanwhile, Hemmes and his family’s empire is believed to be worth around $1.06 billion

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