$7mil block sale to help animals
COASTAL villages are alive with stories about how families sold off beachfront properties for a pittance only to see the same blocks priced in the millions years later.
This story is about the man who held on to his prime piece of real estate and now it's worth more than $7 million.
Forty-three years ago young seasonal worker Alan Henry arrived in Hervey Bay in an old truck with mate Max Chandler, a wad of hard-earned cash and a dream of discovering his nest egg.
He bought a block of land. But not just any block.
“I fell in love with a beautiful four-acre site opposite the Urangan Boat Harbour.
“I paid 8000 pound for it - a lot of money in 1966 - but I'd already been working hard and saved up a bit.
“And then I went home to Victoria, thinking one day maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to build my home on that land.”
In his dreams. Literally. Because this week Mr Henry, 75, received his rates bill and although he doesn't want to disclose exactly how much he owes, it's a great deal of money for “an asset-rich, cash-poor man like me”.
The Chronicle estimates Mr Henry is up for about $200,000 in rates and land taxes.
If he doesn't pay it the council's next move will be to take the three blocks to public auction.
It's meant Mr Henry has decided to list the original four-acre block, plus two neighbouring quarter-acre chunks of land he bought six months later for tender with Elders Real Estate in Hervey Bay.
“I really need to sell my Hervey Bay blocks. For years I have been buying up bush blocks in NSW - 4470 acres all up of beautiful bush that will stay safe for wildlife and the birds.”
“I have named the trust after my mother Hazel, the Hazel L. Henry Farmland Nature Refuges.”
In another blow, Mr Henry says the Bay land has been zoned residential by the council and it also has “a green overlay” on it.
“I guess that means no one can cut down too many trees even though I don't believe most are natives. And they can't put a multi-storey development on it - but that's not to say a determined buyer couldn't go the council and argue the case for rezoning it.”
Elders Real Estate's Robyn Taylor, who has been selling real estate for four years, is now marketing Mr Henry's land - the most valuable property of her career.
“This land is the best site left on the Fraser Coast,” she said.
“Properties like this just don't come along very often.”
Mr Henry's tender expiry date is November 13.