A boutique Edwardian-style, heritage-listed hotel that once served as a girls’ college in the 1920s in NSW’s north coast region has hit the market.
Designed by architect Frederick J Boardok, Ballina Manor Boutique Hotel was built in 1925 as the North Coast Ladies College but only functioned for five years due to the Great Depression of the 1930s forcing its closure.
For the past two decades after being saved from demolition, the property, set on 1844 square metres at 25 Norton Street, Ballina, has served as a 12-room boutique hotel.
In the 18 months Becky and Duncan Drummond have owned Ballina Manor they have completed a “truckload” of maintenance and upgrade work, including new furniture and bathroom fittings, software updates, new airconditioning units and building maintenance.
“I know it’s only been a short amount of time [we’ve owned it] but we have put everything into it – I feel like I am going to lose a part of me [when it sells],” Mrs Drummond said.
She said Ballina Manor would suit a broad range of buyers.
“I think ideally it’s going to be a couple of any description who are wanting to get out of the city life and come up for the lifestyle,” she said.
“You really do step back into the 1920s. It has a beautiful homely feel about it and I think because it is boutique you get really private and friendly service.
The Manor’s guest rooms feature Edwardian period furniture and decor, access to expansive verandahs and individual en suites.
There is also a restaurant, an internal courtyard and a caretaker’s home with a private courtyard.
Selling agent Jason Monk, of McGrath Tweed Heads, said its grand heritage and uniqueness set Ballina Manor apart.
“It’s a special buy. It will suit a demographic of people who are coming from NSW or south Victoria, who are looking for a warmer climate and lifestyle change but a business to go with it,” he said.
“So I think it’s just one of those unique opportunities that has come up and the fact is, it’s very affordable. If it were in Byron Bay, it would probably be three or four times the price.
“Someone may just want to have it as a grand home, other people might want to buy it and turn into office suites for barristers, or lawyers or accountants or anything like that … so it does have that residential appeal or going concern.”
Interest had been widespread, particularly from local residents, Mr Monk said.
“So even though we thought that interest would be further afar, which has been good, the amount of local people who have inquired on the property and have scheduled inspections is amazing.”
In its Heritage NSW statement of significance, Ballina Manor is described as being “important to the history of denomination education in Ballina/the region”.
It states that the building “is an important interwar architectural building that makes a significant aesthetic contribution to the Norton Street streetscape”.
Its historical notes state that, “the college’s prospectus also provides important insights into the reasons the college was established in Ballina”.
“This it seems had as much to do with the learning environment of the locality than to service the needs of the immediate community. The prospectus clearly indicated the benefits of the school’s seaside environment,” it stated.
“The seaside climate, it was believed in this era, enhanced learning.”
After the building ceased function as a college in the 1930s, it served as a guest house and during the Second World War it became a boarding house.
During the 1970s it was turned into flats and was known as Sunnyhaven.
25 Norton Street, Ballina is being sold via an expressions of interest campaign, which closes on August 10.
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