Fashion family lists $20m Byron icon
The family behind the Oroton fashion empire could pocket over $20 million for the sale of Byron Bay landmark The Farm, a sprawling 31 hectare collective of fresh food producers and eateries.
Launched five years ago, the property at the intersection of Ewingsdale Rd and the Pacific Highway operates in a similar way to a business incubator, but for sustainable farmers and food companies.
It includes the highly successful Three Blue Ducks restaurant, along with a mix of other shops and cafes selling local produce drawn from the surrounding orchards and vegetable gardens.
There are also fields of free roaming heritage-breed pigs, Scottish Highland cattle and chickens, along with an education centre for helping adults and children learn more about where their food comes from.
Together the microbusinesses are believed to generate nearly $1 million in annual rental income and were understood to have attracted more than 500,000 visitors last year.
The property was the brainchild of Tom Lane, the grandson of Oroton founder Boyd Lane, and his wife Emma, who got the idea for the collective while searching the family farm for their missing daughter.
He eventually found the three-year-old sprawled across a vegetable patch eating string beans straight off the stalk and an idea to transform the food industry took shape.
"I got an epiphany," he said. "I realised not many people get the same chance to see where their food comes from and that I could change that."
His aim when setting up The Farm on a former magnolia and dairy station five years ago was to create a platform to promote regenerative farming and get people more acquainted with where food comes from.
"Most of us will know our dentist or accountant but we don't know our farmer," Mr Lane said. "We wanted to educate people."
Today all the businesses on site grow food using traditional and sustainable methods that are chemical free.
Mr Lane said his hope was to sell a stake in the property to a strategic investor, which would help spread the concept around Australia.
"It's about starting a ripple effect," he said. "There is a global movement in people wanting to understand more about their food … we are looking to expand to Queensland and Victoria."
The property is listed with CBRE Hotels national director Wayne Bunz through an expressions of interest campaign that closes later this month.
Mr Bunz, who recently sold Harvey Norman founder Gerry Harvey's Byron at Byron resort for over $40 million, said there was considerable interest in the farm property, especially from investors in Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne.
"Given the success of the farm, one of them could take the whole lot, not just a stake … it will be a big sale," Mr Bunz said, adding that early indicators suggested the full property could sell for over $20 million.
The agent added that the Byron region had become a red hot investment market. "It's a world-renowned tourist destination so high net-worth people love the area," he said.
"With this property, it's not just about the income. It's about sustainability and organic farming and what you can do with the landholdings. There are a lot of possibilities."
Originally published as Fashion family lists $20m Byron icon