By Shelby Brooks
THE old Newhaven Boys Home is back on the market after plans to develop it into a five-star hotel fell through, despite intentions to have renovations completed by Christmas this year.
The developing group, made up of 10 parties, announced the ‘Phillip Island International’ project in March this year with the expectation the $3 million renovations would be completed by Christmas.
But on Tuesday, November 10, the property on Forrest Avenue in Newhaven was back on the market for $3.5m.
Real estate agent Ranjith Panangala, of the Australasia Real Estate Group – Beaconsfield, said the current owners, who had purchased it as an investment back in 2015, decided it was time to move on.
“They held it until the value went up but there are a few investors involved and some of them now decided, ‘we’ve had it long enough we want to have our return and get our money back’, so that’s why they decided to put it on the market and sell,” he told the Sentinel-Times.
The property is approximately 3.53 acres, a rare find in Newhaven.
“There is nothing to buy at the moment at that size in that area,” Mr Panangala said.
“If you check during the Grand Prix, you can’t get a room [on Phillip Island] – it’s so packed – so this is a good property for somebody to redevelop it.”
Mr Panangala said the hope was that someone would buy it to redevelop though he doesn’t expect international interest in the property.
“It has to be a local developer to understand what Phillip Island is all about,” he said.
“We don’t expect much interest from overseas. We expect a local developer to come and have a good look at it and say, ‘look, this is its history and it’s worthwhile doing it’.
“There is a concept plan but there is no approval, of course, they don’t want to go ahead and get approval for that but if someone wants to buy it and redevelop it as a five-star tourist accommodation place, tennis courts… swimming pools it would be absolutely beautiful.”
In 2011, authorities approved a permit for a 21-lot subdivision including the development of 10 dwellings.
The abandoned property has a somewhat dark past, once being home to a training school for misbehaving boys under 14.
Established in 1928, St Paul’s Training School for Boys was set up by the Mission of St James and St John and roomed up to 60 boys, many who were wards of the state.
Mr Panangala said unique features of the property included two jail-like cells.
“If they did something wrong, the priest put [the boys] in that room and locked them there for a few hours or whatever,” he said.