Cronulla backpackers hostel to continue operating as DA is lodged for another hostel

Plans to demolish the Cronulla backpackers hostel and build a six-storey apartment block have been put on hold because of a downturn in the property market.

Not only will the backpacker hostel continue to operate indefinitely, but so too will the popular El Sol restaurant at ground level.

A surfing tour business in the adjoining old building at the corner of Kingsway and Wilbar Avenue has also received a reprieve.

Coincidentally, the decision comes as a development application (DA) is lodged for another backpacker hostel in the main street of Cronulla.

A newsagency operates at present from the site at 109 Cronulla Street, near the train station, where the development is proposed.

The DA proposes $1.5 million in works, involving the demolition of the existing building and construction of backpackers accommodation.

Documents that will provide the details have not yet been placed on Sutherland Shire Council’s online DA register.

Approval for the DA to replace Cronulla Beach Backpackers with a six-storey apartment block was given in November.

However, property owner Michael Keogh, who established the hostel 18 years ago, has decided the venture is too much of a risk in the present climate.

“We received approval to build 18 apartments and four shops, but I am worried about the uncertainty in the market,” he said.

“I see a lot of units that are not not selling – both off the plan and completed apartments.

“I have decided not to go ahead for the forseable future.

“Whether it’s one, two, three or four years, I don’t know. 

“Our market was going to be downsizers – not people buying in the $2-3 million range near the water, but those looking for more affordable properties in Cronulla.

“However, they are also worried about the uncertainty in the market.

“When things improve and the market levels out, we will go ahead.”