Sydney Surfers Fall Gravely Ill As $120 Million Wiseman’s Ferry Wavepool Project Flops - Stab Mag

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Sydney Surfers Fall Gravely Ill As $120 Million Wiseman’s Ferry Wavepool Project Flops

‘Here’s your refund, now back to your regularly-scheduled rip bowling!’

// Jul 31, 2023
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The hopes of finding a peak to oneself within 80kms of the Harbour Bridge have dwindled further today after the developers behind the $120 million Wiseman’s Ferry project announced they were issuing refunds to investors.

Pro surfers Steph Gilmore, Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr, Bede Durbridge, Alana Blanchard and Jack Freestone will be among those getting their deposits back today, like sad unwanted Christmas gifts.

Initially slated to open just months from now, the 18.2ha lot which once promised ‘a 12,600sqm wave-generating pool using Surfloch tech (the same used in the Palm Spring pool), chic hotel, restaurant and six-hole golf course’ cited economic conditions as the main hindrance. 

Heavy rainfall between March and September 2022 in the flood-prone area – which reached the level of the proposed pool, didn’t help either. 

BALNCE, the conglomerate once set to build this aquatic daydream, now asking for BSB’s, describe themselves as a “placemaking company with a multi-disciplinary team across finance, property development, technology and marketing.” ‘Placemaking’ being described as an “evolving field of development practice that leverages culture to serve a community’s shared interests with the intention of creating spaces that promote health and culture.” 

Notable characters involved in BALNCE are 4 Pines co-founder Jaron Mitchell, and Balter co-founder Sean Ronan, who both sold their business’ to Japanese-owned CUB (Carlton & United Breweries) in recent years. 

A press release from BALNCE obtained by radio station Coast FM reads the following:

“The recent news regarding the completion of our civil tender and the challenges we have faced in securing a viable price during a hyper-escalated market may have left questions (to be answered),” said a spokesperson in the statement, which was also posted on various Wisemans Ferry businesses through the week.”

“Unfortunately, since the completion of our civil tender, we have been unable to secure a construction price that maintains an adequate contingency for the fund due to hyper-escalation.”

“While we’ve completed several rounds of preliminary project pricing throughout this journey, to maintain an accurate and viable fund build-up, the development costs have changed so dramatically that simply adding more debt or equity to compensate does not preserve a viable financial model that the investment is based upon.”

“No unitholders’ funds will be lost, all investments will be refunded in full. Unitholder funds have never been used for any purposes and have been held in the Custodian’s trust account as outlined in the PDS.”

Back to second ramp I guess.

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