NEWS PROPERTY

The owner of two of Cairns’ most iconic motels is selling after becoming a major player in the city’s tourist accommodation industry 41 years ago. Brian Jorgensen has listed Cairns Rainbow Resort and Cairns Southside International Hotel for sale but will keep the Cairns City Sheridan St motel. The move is part of a plan to ease into retirement for the 68-year-old. “I have five kids who are not into the rigours of motel operations,” Mr Jorgensen explained. “We have had plenty of inquiries, I’m not sure if the final buyer will end up being a local. “I don’t even mind if wejust sell the leases on them.” Cairns Rainbow Resort on Sheridan St was bought by Mr Jorgensen in 1977 and he built the Southside International in 2000. He said Cairns had changed significantly since he first entered the tourism market and it had a great future ahead. “The city has gone from three motels to where it is now. The international airport in 1994 was massive, that’s really what kicked it in the guts,” Mr Jorgensen said.

A spiritually-inspired accommodation and function venue overlooking one of the most famous surf breaks in the world has been placed on the market for sale. Solscape is uniquely positioned on the hills above Raglan’s famous Manu Bay and Ngaranui Beach on the Waikato’s West Coast, is a multi-faceted eco- tourism and function destination generating revenues from several complimentary operations – including accommodation and food and beverage. Raglan was first made famous by the classic 1966 surf movie Endless Summer which featured the exploits of a trio of young American surfing buddies seeking out the world’s best wave-riding spots…. including Manu Bay’s legendary left-hand wave. The ground-breaking movie is still widely credited for making surfing the popular sport it is today. Solscape was established in 2002 – building on what was a rustic accommodation venue known as Raglan Wagon Cabins, and was founded on the holistic dynamics of surfing, the surrounding bush environment, and plant-based wholefood cuisine. The Solscape freehold land, buildings and business are now being marketed for sale by deadline private treaty, through Bayleys Hamilton salespeople Rebecca Bruce and Mark Frost, in conjunction with Bayleys’ tourism, leisure and hospitality specialist Carolyn Hanson.

Don Pancho Beach Resort in Bargara is being offered for sale under instructions from statutory trustees, through an expressions of interest campaign run by CBRE Hotels’ Hayley Manvell and Wayne Bunz. The 3.5 star resort, currently operated under a time share model and managed by Classic Holidays, is on a freehold 3940sq m beachfront lot, 14km east of the Bundaberg CBD. The resort offers frontage to Kellys Beach and is opposite the Bargara Golf Club. The multi-level Mediterranean-style resort complex has 44 self-contained units (including a two-bedroom manager’s residence), restaurant, conference room, undercover carparking and recreational facilities including a swimming pool, BBQ area, and half tennis court. Plus Architecture have prepared design concepts to provide to potential purchasers. Options include repositioning the existing product or redeveloping with modern beachfront villas (STCA). Mr Bunz said the irreplaceable beachfront site, coupled with the property’s significant development potential, would appeal to a broad buyer pool, from hotel owner-operators through to developers. The expressions of interest campaign closes on November 29.

Bowen’s Grandview Hotel which was built in 1864 and has been in the hands of the McLean family since 1919 has sold for about $20 million. The property has been bought we understand by the Sydney-based Vinta Group. The company was not responding to calls, but it is described on its Linkedin site as having “a property portfolio comprising major retail and commercial assets”. The pub featured in the Baz Luhrmann movie Australia. Twenty million is a lot of moolah for a country pub, but the Grandview, in case you haven’t been there, is a “pokie palace”.

A Lower Hutt hotel that hosted Tana Umaga’s All Blacks and has a well known staff member called Pickles, has been sold for an undisclosed sum. After 27 years, Peter Norrie is reluctantly selling the Angus Inn, which has 70 rooms and a popular bar. Although he had a $62 million plan to develop the site, he said the time was right to move on.

The owners of Geelong’s Corio Bay Motel are hoping an international buyer will pay a multi-million price for the landmark northern suburbs property. The freehold to the Princes Highway accommodation has hit the market for the first time in 30 years as the owners sought to leverage the increased demand for Asian investors in Corio residential property market. CRE Brokers agent Dave Harris said the owners, who also previously operated the business before selling the leasehold, had watched with interest as the Corio property market grew on the back of investors confidence. Mr Harris wouldn’t reveal price expectations for the property, but indicated the agents were seeking a short yield on the 2322sq m site at 292-296 Princes Highway, Corio.

A Malaysian developer has snapped up the Habitat HQ backpacker hostel on Melbourne’s St Kilda Road in a $16 million-plus deal. The property at 333 St Kilda Road was sold on behalf of the family operators of Habitat HQ. CBRE agents Julian White, David Minty, Chao Zhang and Josh Rutman brokered the property, which is slated as a potential apartment development site. The 2540-square-metre corner site fronts both St Kilda Road and Blanche Street and is home to a 1612 sq m, multi-level building. Passing income is about $720,000 annually. The property has a six-level development limit and, based on potential schemes for the site, the sale price represents as much as $200,000 per prospective unit. Mr Zhang said the transaction reflected a resurgence in Asian buyer interest in Melbourne development sites. “Six of our past seven site sales have involved Asian developers, who are looking at macro factors such as Melbourne’s strong population growth when pursuing new acquisitions,” he said. The property is in a tightly held area of St Kilda Road, with only four properties selling over the past two years in the stretch between Carlisle Street and St Kilda Junction. Along its length, though, the leafy boulevard leading to the Melbourne CBD remains a busy market. Last month a group of 25 owners of apartments and offices joined together to put their building at 545 St.

The listed Elanor Investors Group has finalised a major hospitality acquisition, picking up a portfolio of six Australian hotels for $103.9 million that will go into its specialist unlisted vehicle. The Elanor Metro and Prime Regional Hotel Fund, set up last year to acquire high-yield hotels with expansion or alternative use potential, had acquired the properties from another Elanor-run vehicle. Elanor has also struck up a strategic partnership with motoring group NRMA to co-invest along with other investors in the fund, positioning it to grow. The tie-up is in keeping with NRMA’s moves to give its 2.3 million members more tourism services. The motoring group has also committed further capital to accelerate the growth of the EMPR fund. “The transaction provides the opportunity to grow revenue following the refurbishment of a number of the properties, particularly Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge and Parklands Resort Mudgee,” Elanor head of hotels, tourism and leisure Marianne Ossovani said. The hotels were previously owned by the Elanor Hospitality and Accommodation Fund and the latest acquisition is viewed as accretive to the EMPR fund and boosts its scale. EMPR, which already had $73.2m worth of properties, was set up with an initial portfolio of three Australian hotels: the IBIS Styles Eaglehawk, NSW, the IBIS Styles Canberra, ACT, and the Byron Bay Hotel and Apartments, NSW. The trust is now on track to hit it target of growing to about $200m just 18 months after being launched. After the deal the EMPR Fund will have a nine hotels, with 774 rooms, independently valued at more than $177m. The portfolio will now include the Mantra Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW; Ibis Styles Port Macquarie, Port Macquarie, NSW; Ibis Styles Tall Trees, Ainslie, ACT; Mantra Pavilion Wagga Wagga, Wagga Wagga, NSW; Parklands Resort Mudgee, Mudgee, NSW, and Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania.

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