A tourism heavyweight has revealed how his family’s 107-year connection to Albany inspired him to buy a prime $1 million waterfront accommodation site, 20 years after his first attempt failed. As revealed by the Advertiser, the 3.2ha site encompassing Lots 1 and 2 Frenchman Bay Road was sold in January, nearly two years after it was put on the market by Ray White Commercial at an asking price of $1.8 million. At the time, Ray White Commercial said the vacant site had been snapped up by a Singaporean tourism developer for $1.05m. But former Tourism WA chair and Seashells Hospitality Group managing director Paul King has now confirmed he is the owner. Mr King said he had no concrete plans for the site as yet. He said the site would not have financial ties to Seashells Hospitality Group, which is set to operate a four-star hotel on Middleton Beach. The Middleton Beach site was signed over to Pacifica Developments and Ausglobal Group in December, who teamed up to buy the 3700sqm site and build a $25 million-$30m hotel. Mr King said he had long planned to invest in Albany due to his strong family connections to the area which spanned generations. His grandfather, who served in Gallipoli, was one of the 40,000 soldiers to depart King George Sound for World War I. “My grandfather Wallace Dalton King, 6th Battalion, sailed from Princess Royal Harbour on November 1, 1914 on HMAT Hororata and he was one of the lucky ones who made it back,” he said. “My family holidayed at Emu Point when I was a kid and I have a great affection for Albany and regional WA in general.” The Frenchman Bay site is zoned for accommodation by the City of Albany. It has been the target of several proposed tourism ventures in recent decades and is the former home of the Frenchman Bay Caravan Park, established in 1959. In 2017, the City granted development approval for a 24-villa accommodation project which never got off the ground. “I actually tried to buy this property about 20 years ago or more when it was operating as a caravan park, so it’s been on my radar for a long time,” Mr King said.