An eighth-generation farmer who is the owner of Maroochydore’s last remaining undeveloped private land, is putting most of his prime Sunshine Coast property up for sale.
- Peter Wise is accepting expressions of interest for 35 hectares of his prime Sunshine Coast farmland
- His family has been farming in the region since 1901
- He plans to continue growing figs and coffee beans on 4ha bordering the motorway
Pursued by dozens of developers over decades in the booming holiday hotspot, 81-year-old farmer Peter Wise has decided that now is the time to sell 35 hectares bordering Wises Road and the Sunshine Motorway, where he runs cattle next to suburbia.
The Wise family has been farming on the Sunshine Coast since 1901. Peter Wise’s British-born grandfather Frederick migrated to Australia chasing gold, before buying ‘Palmyra’ on Buderim for £800.
Mr Wise and his brother David purchased an adjoining 121ha of farmland in Maroochydore between 1965 and 1968.
But Mr Wise expected that this sale would proceed much faster than the 21 years it took to agree on his last large property exchange, back in 2002.
A section of the Sunshine Motorway, Maroochy Boulevard, the Sunshine Cove canal estate and kilometre-long Harvey Norman Homemaker centre complex, have all been built on land where tourists once picked their own fruit in the Wise family’s orchards.
Mr Wise has not shied away from controversy, publicly butting heads with authorities and neighbours who tried to encroach on his land. He successfully fought for his rights in the Supreme Court.
This latest sale will be on his own terms, with no real estate agents involved. A 55-page information booklet of sale was prepared, before he agreed to allow expressions of interest from potential buyers.
“The sale of Wises Farm will be conducted under my version of a tender system where, at the end, a potential purchaser’s cash offer is to include their best vision to redevelop the unique site,” Mr Wise said.
To ensure a premium price, a lapsed development plan has been updated and resubmitted.
In 2012, the state’s Planning and Environment Court gave preliminary approval for a development on the farmland, including residential housing, commercial and community uses along with open space and environmental management areas.
But the outdated documents lapsed, and on Wednesday Mr Wise’s town planners lodged a modified development application with Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
It allows for seven precincts, including medium-density residential housing, low-density residential housing, a mixed-use precinct, a local centre precinct, and an environmental management precinct.
Between 500–700 homes could be built and his consultants, Innovative Planning Solutions, have also sought approval for a service station.
Two motorway underpasses exist, allowing traffic access through to the Sunshine Cove estate.
Mr Wise said the code-assessable approval process, would give developers time to put in their offers.
He still hopes that a Christian university will be part of his land’s future, but said he understands that the new owner will make their own development decisions.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella said with the current housing crisis on the Sunshine Coast she expected there would be “a very significant backlash if council didn’t move quickly to approve the application.”
Record real estate prices
Simple house blocks in Maroochydore have sold for more than a million dollars in the past year, but Mr Wise was not speculating about the potential price of his extensive property.
“The last time [newsreader] Rob Brough spoke about it on Channel Seven [on the Sunshine Coast], he tongue-in-cheek made a bushman’s valuation that it would be worth $50 million.
Already a multi-millionaire, Mr Wise has no plans to give up farming.
He still owns the historic Palmyra homestead on Buderim and will keep 4 hectares of his Maroochydore land bordering the motorway where he grows and sells figs and is cultivating coffee trees.
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