Approved proposal


The three adjoining blocks, which are home to four houses, lie at the south eastern corner of Jonson Street. Across the road is Mitre 10, the Byron Music complex, the Byron Gym/Services Club complex and the Byron Butter Factory Apartments which, at 11.5 metres, are at least 2.6 metres taller than 139 Jonson.

Aerial view, southern end of Jonson Street
View from the rear of the Byron Butter Factory Apartments opposite 139 Jonson

The land is located in the B2 Local Centre (town centre) zone. The dwellings on the land have existing rights to be used as residential houses, however in this zone it is not permissible to build new dwellings. Consistent with the zoning of the land the ground floor must be of a commercial or business nature and residential accommodation must be “shop top” housing located above.

Building context section

Nuts and bolts

139Jonson is a mixed use development comprising two buildings set back from Jonson and Browning Streets with an open heavily landscaped courtyard between.

The ground level will be home to a café or restaurant as well as commercial and retail space. Shop top permanent housing (28 dwellings including four accessible) will be on the two upper levels. Two basements will provide parking for 125 cars (in total) including 6 accessible and 2 electric (with car charging), 14 motorcycle bays and 35 bicycle parks with electric charging.

Ground floor activated living


On Ruskin Lane cars accessing our buildings will travel 8 metres only of 175 metres of Ruskin Lane. Trucks will travel up to 38 metres. 139 Jonson traffic will go past the boundary of two properties only, the seven bedroom Byron Palms Guesthouse and San Juan Cottage holiday rental. We are required by Byron Shire Council’s Development Control Plan to have rear lane access. Numerous studies have identified this as the safer pedestrian option.

Mixed use

The term mixed use refers to developments which combine residential and commercial uses. Locally, the Byron Town Centre Master Plan states:

The Byron Shire Council and the external consultants concurred that this Southern Jonson Street area which is defined as the area between Carlyle and Browning Streets should be targeted as a medium density residential area which accommodates local workers.

“5.12 Jonson Street South: Short & Long Term Priorities [2016 – 2035]: The south of Jonson Street should, over time, gradually transition into a mixed use district that supports medium density living and local business. By achieving this outcome a greater population of residents and workers can be located within walking distance of the village centre and the new Mercato Shopping development. In addition the economic vibrancy of the town centre can be better concentrated in and around the Village Centre ensuring a more compact and walkable town centre environment. “By achieving this outcome a greater population of residents and workers can be located within walking distance of the village centre.” Source: Page 134 & 135: Final Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan.

Artist’s impression laneway courtyard

Permanent residential

Permanent residential accommodation is used for the long term renting of a property to permanent tenants. As opposed to short term holiday rental accommodation where tenants/guests are not permitted to stay longer than 90 days. 139 Jonson provides for entirely all permanent residential accommodation as shop top housing. The design of shop top housing in NSW is guided by the State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 – Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development (SEPP 65).

If it was our intention to provide accommodation for short term rental accommodation we would not have had to meet these design guidelines. We could build smaller apartments and increase the number of apartments. This is not what we have done.

Artist’s impression permanent residential

Design and nature

“When the client came to us with their brief we were excited about designing a new benchmark project of coastal apartments in the town centre of Byron. A key part of that brief was to offer open-plan, well proportioned and generous apartments.

A study of the site and it surrounds inspired the concept of a building that would stitch into Byron’s urban and cultural fabric. This is achieved in part by the semi public laneway between the buildings which opens to a courtyard, encouraging pedestrian activity and allowing the buildings to breathe.

The apartments have been designed so they all face outward and are equipped with sliding timber screens to allow occupants full control of their privacy and sun shading needs. From a streetscape point of view this creates a lot of variation, depth and shadow as opposed to a flat building mass. This is further bolstered by the planting on the building façade.

At the core of the design is the offering of greenspace and alternative planting modes. The design includes vine walls, podium planters, three storey green walls, deep soil and streetscape planting all with native and endemic species. The commercial space, for example, is set back underneath a deep awning and continuous timber pergola with climbing vines running along Jonson and Browning Streets. The courtyard and laneway have full height continuous timber screens which act as green vine walls with garden beds below.

For material selections we went for natural and muted tones that will age gracefully rather than using brash or bold colours. The intent was timelessness. So we’ve used a lot of hardwood timbers that will grey off as the years pass. We wanted to give the landscape the voice rather than competing with it, so we preferred the muted palette.

As you arrive into town at the new roundabout the view is right into the heart of the courtyard. So providing that sense of nature, of green, became even more important.”

Jade Myers, Myers Ellyett Architects

“There are carpets and curtains and roofs of vegetation. The important thing is creating spaces that are defined by vegetation. Defined by things that are characteristic to Byron. A part of the landscaping brief is to bridge that gap between something new and something existing. Things that people walk past every day – the trees, the flowers, the leaves – by bringing them into this new development it makes it easier for people to take ownership and want to be there”.

Zoe Lyons, Landscape Architect RPS