Whale Beach restaurant redevelopment row

In Community, Featured Home Page News, Food, Harmonisation, Momentum, New South Wales

The $16.5 million redevelopment of an old apartment block into a swish shop-top residential complex at Whale Beach has drawn community anger.

One of the owners Anthony Cassar said there was confusion, based on a planning request by the council, about what some locals believe to be an increase in the allowed number of restaurant patrons from 64 to 170.

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from Daily telegraph 3.4.22

The family behind a proposed $16.5 million redevelopment of an old “eyesore” apartment block into a swish shop-top residential complex at Whale Beach has become the centre of community anger about the size of a restaurant.

But the Cassar family say the angst about the planned 170-seat eatery — which may end up being used by the popular Boathouse Group — in the building on Whale Beach Rd, is misplaced.

Anthony Cassar said there was confusion, based on a planning request by the council, about what some locals believe to be an increase in the allowed number of restaurant patrons from 64 to 170.

Many of the more than 100 public submissions fired into the council complained that the apparent increase in diners will cause traffic snarls near the beach; massively reduce local parking spaces and; increase noise in the up-market neighbourhood.

A plan for the ground floor of the proposed cafe to be built as part of a "shop-top" redevelopment on Whale Beach Rd, Whale Beach. The eatery, fronting Surf Rd, will have room for 170 patrons. Picture: Richard Cole Architecture

A plan for the ground floor of the proposed cafe to be built as part of a “shop-top” redevelopment on Whale Beach Rd, Whale Beach. The eatery, fronting Surf Rd, will have room for 170 patrons. Picture: Richard Cole Architecture

Mr Cassar said the confusion arises from the fact the redevelopment of the block, which now houses the Boathouse Group’s Whale Beach Deli, included plans for two eatery locations — a smaller one at the Whale Beach Rd entrance and a larger premises at ground level on Surf Rd.

An artist's impression of the original proposed redevelopment, before it was revised, on Whale Beach Rd, Whale Beach. Picture: Richard Cole Architecture

An artist’s impression of the original proposed redevelopment, before it was revised, on Whale Beach Rd, Whale Beach. Picture: Richard Cole Architecture

There was to be a total of 170 seats across the two premises, which would have been operated by the one restaurant business.

“Then the council requested us to consolidate the two premises into one, on the ground floor,” Mr Cassar said. “It would help contain the noise beneath the building.

An artist's impression of the proposed redevelopment on Whale Beach Rd, Whale Beach. Picture: Richard Cole Architecture

An artist’s impression of the proposed redevelopment on Whale Beach Rd, Whale Beach. Picture: Richard Cole Architecture

“There was always going to be places for 170 patrons, but instead of in two locations, they will be consolidated into one, on Surf Rd.”

Mr Cassar said the commercial premises on Whale Beach Rd would probably now be leased to a real estate firm or a business such as a beauty spa.

“We are not property developers, I’m not a restaurateur,” Mr Cassar said. “Member of the family with be living in the apartments so it’s in our interests that we don’t have noise that disturbs the neighbours.

“We are not asking for anything more than has already been approved or allowed under the planning instruments.

“It’s going to be a massive improvement to what is an ugly eyesore of a building”.

The existing “ugly eyesore” proposed to be demolished on Whale Beach Rd, Whale Beach. Picture: Richard Cole Architecture

The existing “ugly eyesore” proposed to be demolished on Whale Beach Rd, Whale Beach. Picture: Richard Cole Architecture

The proposed redevelopment of the apartment block included five luxury units with ocean views, and three retail tenancies. It is understood one of the shops would be leased as a general store.

In a consultant’s report lodged with the DA modification application, said 18 staff would be working at the eatery.

Late last year a co-owner of the Boathouse Group, Ben Isaac, said that they were keen to move the cafe back into the new building.

This week he said a decision had still not been made to take up the future lease.

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