Albany beachfront 'eyesore' may be developed after decade-long wait
An abandoned block branded an "eyesore" at a popular West Australian tourism beach may finally be developed after an almost decade-long wait.
The City of Albany has approved the re-zoning of the vacant block at Middleton Beach in the historic port town.
It has been fallow since the old Esplanade Hotel was acquired and demolished by Singaporean owners WCP Plaza in 2007.
The outfit shelved plans to build a major hotel, village square, function centre and recreation facilities on the site when the global financial crisis hit in 2008.
The Government used Royalties for Regions funds to buy the site in 2014 for $7 million.
The new zoning will allow new restaurants, cafes, a hotel and residential apartments to be developed.
The plans allow for a 12-storey hotel to be built close to the foreshore, and Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the city already had 15 expressions of interest.
"Some of them for the housing part of it, some of it commercial and some for the hotel," he said.
"There will be a time restriction on the development within a certain amount of time, generally two or three years, so we don't have the situation we had last time where somebody sat on it for 10 years and did nothing."
Property owner in the area Trish Flowers said the vacant lot has long been considered an eyesore.
"I have trained myself to not look at it," she said.
"When the hotel went and nothing was replaced, it was a disaster for all the businesses in the area.
"Whilst the re-zoning is a step in the right direction, I still think we're a few years away to seeing any development in the area."