Albany’s Middleton Beach hotel plans revealed by WA Premier Mark McGowan

Plans for a long-awaited waterfront hotel at one of southern WA’s most popular tourist spots have been revealed.

Premier Mark McGowan released the designs for the $30 million Middleton Beach hotel on Friday with Lands Minister John Carey.

The hotel, to be operated by Seashells, is a luxury eight-storey, 66-room hotel.

It would be the first hotel built on the Albany site since the controversial demolition of the Esplanade Hotel in 2007.

The hotel would rise to eight storeys at its rear, facing Mt Adelaide, while a portion closest to the beach would be two storeys.

Construction of the hotel was expected to begin later this year, but there were concerns builder and material shortages could delay its completion.

Mr McGowan unveiled plans for a hotel at Albany’s Middleton Beach on Friday.(ABC News: James Carmody)

Mr McGowan said the hotel would bolster tourism and jobs in the Great Southern after the industry was decimated during COVID-19.

The area was one of Western Australia’s most sought-after tourism destinations due to its sandy beaches, lush forests and fresh produce.

The development, which would sit on a 3,700sqm site facing the Southern Ocean, was anticipated to create 180 construction jobs.

Exactly what Albany needs — Premier

Mr McGowan said the cascading hotel was “the sort of thing any country town would kill for”.

“(It’s) a sympathetic design for the local environment, designed to ensure it attracts tourists from around the world,” he said.

“This is exactly the sort of thing that regional communities like Albany need. Albany is a very, very attractive destination, a great tourism town and this will add to the tourism offering of this area.

“We’re very hopeful that the hotel itself will open late 2023 … and if it’s 2024 then so be it, but it’s a great development.”

The hotel was first estimated to cost $25 million, but Mr Carey said it would now cost around $30 million.

“I think that is a huge investment for Albany, I think people realize that Albany is a premier tourist destination,” Mr Carey said.

“People want to come here, stunning coast, great food, bar offerings and I think having another hotel of this quality on this beachfront is just incredible.”

Mr Carey said the design was before the State Design Review Panel.

The State Government sold the land to the developer for $1 million, after purchasing it for about $7 million. Mr Carey believed the title had also been transferred to the developer.

Hotel site sat empty for years

Old photo of hotel
There’s been several hotels at the Middleton Beach site dating back to the late 1800s.(Supplied: State Library of WA)

Several hotels had been built on the Middleton Beach site over the past century but it had sat empty since the 2007 demolition, after its Singaporean owners were unable to fund a new development amid the global financial crisis.

The state government purchased the land from the developer in 2014 for an estimated $7 million in a bid to revive the project.

In late 2020, it was announced that Seashells would operate the new hotel which would be built by Pacifica Developments and AusGlobal.

Middleton Beach residents were initially unsure of the project, which faced heavy backlash because of the proposed height.

A 12-storey plan was floated last decade but was withdrawn following uproar from locals.

It comes after the city’s first major hotel, a Hilton Garden Inn, opened last year at the marina with 108 rooms.

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