The Anglican Church is testing the real estate market by seeking expressions of interest on its historic Halse Lodge property at Noosa. Picture: Patrick Woods
The Anglican Church is testing the real estate market by seeking expressions of interest on its historic Halse Lodge property at Noosa. Picture: Patrick Woods

Rich slice of Coast history ‘not for redeveloping’

Selling Noosa’s historic Halse Lodge is the least favoured option by owners the Anglican Church as it tests the mark with one of the shire’s most desirable addresses.

That is according to church’s southern Queensland media director Ian Eckersley, who said the diocese was seeking “all new opportunities” for one of its most important properties.

Local concerns have been raised in recent days that the Halse Lane hillside backpackers retreat, just 150m from Hasting St, has the potential for a hotel development.

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But Blake Goddard of Frank Night Brisbane, who is handling expressions of interest for the church site, said the heritage buildings were off limits to major redevelopments.

“There are a lot of town planning constraints on the site,” Mr Goddard said.

“Everyone will skin the cat differently with this one obviously with Halse Lodge being a heritage listed asset.

Noosa's Heritage-listed Halse Lodge, located only 150m from Hastings St is looking for its next owner or tenant.
Noosa's Heritage-listed Halse Lodge, located only 150m from Hastings St is looking for its next owner or tenant.

“You can’t essentially really do anything to that, and you probably wouldn’t, it’s a beautiful building and provides great character,” he said.

He envisaged the lodge as a centrepiece for any future outcome on site.

“Yes, you can refurbish it and I’m sure the incoming party will, it is certainly a unique opportunity for somebody,” Mr Goddard said.

“We’ve have a lot of interest, something of a high profile nature like this naturally attracts people from all walks, whether it’s a serious inquiry or sticky beaks.

“It’s great talking to everyone and hearing everyone’s thoughts on it, we’re certainly excited to be involved in it.”

Mr Goddard said the church was exploring all options including a lease arrangement, a joint venture or a sale.

Noosa Halse Lodge is being put on the market for expressions of interest. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Noosa Halse Lodge is being put on the market for expressions of interest. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

“The church will essentially yield all ideas and opportunities and whatever makes the most sense to them financially and whatever may benefit the community will benefit the decision-making process,” he said.

“It will take the church some time I think to sit down and work through that and there may be a multiple staged process at the end of that, short-listing groups and refining offers.

“At that point in time I think they’ll know where they’re heading.

“I’m not sure when we’ll have a final outcome, I think before Christmas would be a bit ambitious.”

He believed a more likely time for announcing Halse Lodge’s future would be early next year.

“I think it would be great for the area, and I’m sure the outcome whatever that may be will be great for the areas as well,” Mr Goddard said.

“Things like this are so hard to get your hand on.”

Mr Eckersley said the property dated back to Noosa’s pioneering days of tourism and the man regarded as the Father of Noosa, local grazier Walter Hay.

“The site has hosted backpackers and tourists from around the world and no doubt plenty of Noosa devotees from around Australia as well for around 100 years,” Mr Eckersley said.

“Our diocese originally purchased the building, then named Hillcrest House, in 1959 and operated it as a diocesan conference centre and retreat for thousands of Anglicans from around Australia.

Halse Lodge has been home to many a backpacker through its role as a youth hostel.
Halse Lodge has been home to many a backpacker through its role as a youth hostel.

“In 1996 it was leased to a budget accommodation operator and has been run as a backpacker hostel and bar-bistro ever since,” he said.

The lodge’s latest lease to Ecolodge Pty Ltd, which runs the property as the Noosa Heads Youth Hostel Association, is set to expire.

The 7989sq m property is named after former Brisbane Archbishop Reginald Halse.

Noosa's Heritage-listed Halse Lodge, located only 150m from Hastings St is looking for its next owner or tenant.
Noosa's Heritage-listed Halse Lodge, located only 150m from Hastings St is looking for its next owner or tenant.

Northern region Bishop Jeremy Greaves said the church been proud custodians of Halse Lodge for 61 years and was very cognisant that the site and original building retained links back to the 1880s.

“I guess in terms of Halse Lodge, now is an ideal opportunity to reassess what is the best use of the venue heading into the future,” he said.

Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart said the council had measures in place to ensure the lodge retained its historic charm.

“The requirements and restrictions, what you can and can’t do on the site from a heritage and environmental perspective, are certainly black and white,” Cr Stewart said.

“It’s been very well maintained and preserved by the church for the last 25 years and I’d like to see it continue that way.”

Expressions of interest close on October 22.