The historic Shirley Hotel in Bethungra is being given away and could practically be yours for just a mere $100.
Established in 1886, the grand, dual-level stone property presents a unique tree change prospect and a chance for new owners to fulfill their dreams without the overhead costs.
Robyn and Allan Cox, originally from Perth, bought the property unseen in 2014 and said they instantly “fell in love” with the “stunning” building.
“We bought it unseen four years ago and we had no idea what we were getting into as we thought we were just buying an old country pub,” Mrs Cox said.
“That’s when we came to the realisation that this building is a central part of the Bethungra community and everyone has a story about it.
“It’s quite an iconic building and we realised that it would be selfish to think of this as a family home.”
Mrs Cox said due to health reasons and wrong “timing” she can no longer run the bed and breakfast business in the building and is hoping to see people bring it new life.
“We love the building, but we’ve just found ourselves at a time that doesn’t suit us as my health isn’t where it should be to keep going with this business,” she said.
“At this stage we’re not sure about our future as we need to reach a minimum number of interest in applications.”
After a friend told them to post to Facebook, Mrs Cox said she has been shocked with the amount of interest she has received since she started the conversation four days ago.
“It’s scaring the hell out of me, I’ve never been on Facebook and it’s been a bit of a cultural shock to see how much conversation has come from my post,” she said.
Unlike most buildings put on the market, the owners have chosen a system that requires interested applicants to pay $100 for a processing fee.
Mrs Cox said this allows anyone the ability to apply and a neutral party, with no attachments to the business or area, will choose the successful applicant based on who has the best idea for the hotel’s future.
“We need a minimum 20,000 people to apply to cover the costs as half the money will be taxed and if we don’t meet the minimum interest required, we will refund all applicants,” she said.
We will cover the stamp duty and settlement costs because overheads kill any business and we want to give the next person a debt-free start with her.- Robyn Cox
“Hopefully in the next few weeks we will have an application link which will be opened for only three months.”
Mrs Cox said they chose this system because when they purchased the property it was on the market for a long period and it was difficult to get the required business loan.
“We absolutely love and adore the landscape and the people, so we’re hoping to stay locally and keep this lovely old lady in local hands,” she said.
The building sold for $470,000 by McGrath Real Estate on June 10, 2014.
The hotel boasts 13 grand bedrooms, pressed tin ceilings and french doors which open onto a wraparound veranda.
A friend of the owners Melinda Swinton-McCauley said their selling is an “interesting” concept and the building’s possibilities are “endless”.
“It’s a very generous, rare and unusual thing they are doing,” she said.