A $31 MILLION mixed-use apartment complex earmarked for a prime riverfront site in Ballina’s CBD would break a six year hiatus of new owner-occupier apartment projects in the coastal community if approved by Council.

Encouraged by improving market conditions in the region, developer Reside Living Pty Ltd is preparing to launch a luxury new waterfront apartment development in early 2014.

Reside Living recently lodged a development application for the project with Ballina Shire Council.

Pitched at downsizing baby boomers and empty nesters, the six-level project, to be known as Reside Living Ballina, will comprise 36 apartments above 794sqm of ground floor commercial space.

The building will rise on the Sundowner Motor Inn site at 274 River Street on the banks of the Richmond River ‚Äì one of the last waterfront development opportunities in Ballina’s CBD.

The company plans to start construction of the blue chip project in the middle of 2014 and expects it will create upwards of 150 new jobs during the anticipated 12-month building phase.

The DA includes a dedicated public boardwalk along the site’s river frontage.

Project marketing agent Dean Shay, of LJ Hooker Ballina, said Reside Living Ballina would be the first new owner-occupier apartment project off the starting line in the CBD after a six-year development lull.

“We believe it certainly heralds a new property cycle for Ballina and the move certainly reflects the developer’s confidence in the area’s strong appeal as a lifestyle destination, especially for the baby boomer market,” he said.

“In addition to being one of the most established coastal towns in Northern NSW, Ballina boasts stunning beaches and waterways, and is well serviced by transport, community and commercial infrastructure.”

Mr Shay said the opening of the $640 million Ballina Bypass and the $359 million Banora Point highway upgrade had improved driving times between Ballina and Brisbane.

“This will be further enhanced by the impending completion of the Pacific Highway upgrade between Ewingsdale and Tintenbar in the second half of 2014,” he said.

“And for those travelling further afield, Ballina Airport handles up to six direct flights to and from Sydney each day and three flights a week from Melbourne.”

Reside Living general manager of development Simon Green, who will oversee the project and has more than 16 years of experience in the industry, said Reside Living Ballina would appeal to empty nesters for low maintenance living in a premium central location.

“They will reap the benefits of being in the centre of town close to shops, professional services, and recreational pursuits including the local entertainment hub, Ballina RSL.” he said.

More than half of Reside Living Ballina’s apartments will have three bedrooms, supporting the project’s end-user focus.

Residents will have access to a communal vegetable garden, two parking spaces per unit, individual storage areas and parking for caravans.

Unit owners will be able to pre-purchase their electricity through a bulk buying program managed by the building manager, saving up to 20 per cent on their power bills.

The ground-floor commercial precinct will include a waterfront cafe and restaurant tenancy and four other spaces targeted at convenience and medical service providers.

Reside Living Ballina will comprise 21 three-bedroom apartments, 10 two-bedroom dwellings and five one-bedroom units.

It is the first in a number of projects planned under the Reside Living brand, which offers low maintenance living to baby boomers looking to downsize without compromise.

The latest end-user apartment project on the Ballina waterfront was Watermark. Its most recent transaction was a three-bedroom penthouse style apartment which changed hands for approximately $1.4 million.

The personnel behind Reside Living have been responsible for a number of residential, commercial and mixed-use projects throughout New South Wales and Queensland.

They include the Capital One commercial building on the Sunshine Coast, a $15 million duplex project at Sunshine Beach and a major mixed-use residential and retail development in Mackay comprising 145 units, a 200-bed hotel, 1,300sqm of retail space and 15 town homes.