Byron Bay’s new look continues with the addition of Jonson Lane

Jonson Lane is the latest addition to SOJO in Byron Bay. Picture: Supplied
Jonson Lane is the latest addition to SOJO in Byron Bay. Picture: Supplied

The latest development in the seaside town of Byron Bay – South of Jonson Street – is attracting a slew of local movers and shakers.

Jonson Lane is a mixed-use site offering contemporary residential and commercial spaces, with a deliberate focus on supporting Byron artisans.

Jason Dunn of JD Property Group who is acknowledged some locals were hesitant about new luxury developments in the town, fearing a further erosion of its famed vibe.

Jonson Lane is the latest addition to Byron Bay. Picture: Supplied

That’s why Jonson Lane has already brought some exciting local creatives into the town’s centre, who have taken up occupancy in the ground level sites, Mr Dunn said.

“Byron is definitely changing, but for the better,” Mr Dunn said. “I wanted to create a space where local businesses thrive.

“We said no to the big commercial retail businesses for this reason. We very carefully curated the lane with local talent. The tenants have all been working so hard to offer something new and different here in Byron.

“There really is so much extraordinary talent here.”

Some of these local businesses include Nagnata, Light Years, Bar Heather, and Pixie.

Bar Heather has already become a popular go-to in the town. Picture: Jess Kearney

Owner and sommelier at Bar Heather, Tom Sheer, said he had planned to open a wine bar for years, so when the development popped up across the road from his bottle shop, Luna Wine Store, he jumped at the opportunity.

“Over the years, we’ve collected some exceptional bottles and always thought that if we opened a drink-in venue, this is where they would go” Mr Sheer said.

“We only plan to do this once, so we figured we better do it right and we are so excited to be opening at Jonson Lane.

Myers Ellyett Architects was behind the design, which comprises of two buildings separated by the shopping and dining laneway.

“As you arrive into town, the view is into the laneway and courtyard,”Jade Myers of Myers Ellyett Architects said. “Visually, the building mass has been refined to legible apartment sizes.

“The dominant screening not only provides occupant comfort, it further breaks up the built form and enhances the play of light and shadow.”

Pixie is one of the tenants of Jonson Lane featuring a design by Flack Studio. Picture: Supplied

The 28 apartments that lie above the ground level commercial sites are permanent resident-only housing.

Mr Dunn hopes this agreement signed by residents will help with the battle against short-term letting in the Byron Shire, which saw council announce a 90-day cap on short-term rentals, which will be enforced from June 2024.

There are one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments available for to both buy and rent. Each apartment has its own balcony, gourmet kitchen, and access to the rooftop swimming pool.

The apartments are priced from $950,000 and rent from $650 per week.

There are 24 apartments within the build. Picture:

LARC Landscape Architecture was behind the landscaping, and although the plants have not yet matured, they will eventually cover the structures, with the purpose of both blending into the natural surroundings and cooling the buildings.

Rooftop solar panels provide electricity, which also powers hot water and car charging stations in the basement.

How do locals feel about Byron changing?

Longtime local Mitch Van grew up in Byron and said he enjoys the new offerings of the town.

“I like the fact that there are new things happening and it’s not always the same, and I think that’s exactly what Byron embodies – that ability to have new exciting things occurring and have change happening”

However, local personal trainer Alana Regan said that one of the main issues with luxe new developments being built in the Shire is impact on locals who are priced out.

“The developments being built are very expensive which means spaces are tenanted by high-end businesses – locals have voiced it’s hard to go out now without spending hundreds of dollars on a meal. When the summer period ends and it’s just the locals, how will these businesses appeal to us?” she said.

“Even backpacker accommodation is now too expensive – it’s $80 a night at some hostels, so how can you attract workers to the area who need affordable rent?”

“I’m not against development of the town as with growing population, everything eventually gets busy and Byron is a beautiful place to be, but we need to look out for the locals and consider what they want for the town. It’s the locals who make the town special.”