NEWS PROPERTY

Award-winning Marlborough Sounds eco-lodge is on the market following more than 20 years development by its owners. Locals Shayne Olsen and Louise Bright have hung the “for sale” sign out on Lochmara Lodge in Queen Charlotte Sound, a 20-minute boat taxi ride from Picton at the top of the South Island. The eco-lodge buildings and business includes one of New Zealand’s only two underwater aquatic observatories.The other is in Milford Sound. The pair bought the Marlborough Sounds property more than 20 years ago, and then invested in pest control and habitat planting before opening a backpackers in 1998. That was followed by a studio and gallery and then a Wildlife Recovery Centre in 2005. Two years later chalets and a restaurant were built. The property includes several buildings and 4392 hectares of freehold land and is across the Queen Charlotte Sound from Picton, where the ferries between the North Island and South Island dock and cruise ships visit. Fourteen chalets and studio and one bedroom units can accommodate up to 40 guests a night while the cafe-restaurant can accommodate up to 70 guests for breakfasts, lunch and dinner, catering for day trippers and groups who arrive in their own boats or on the lodges’s scheduled water taxi from Picton. Nightly rates at the chalets range from $245 to $280 and at the units from $100 to $198. The owners established over the years eco-tourism activities, working with the Department of Conservation to run wildlife rehabilitation and breeding activities and supporting the Marlborough Sounds Wildlife Recovery Centre founded in 2007, real estate marketing agents Bayleys Marlborough said. The centre has an endangered species breeding programme to help grow local species like geckos and kakariki parakeets. Several walks wind around through the bush and around the hills near the lodge for guests and members of the public to use. In 2010 the lodge was award the Department of Conservation in Action award for the owners’ contribution to conservation and the environment. And in 2012 Lochmara Lodge was the overall supreme winner at the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce business awards. Bayleys Marlborough real estate agent Kurt Lindsay said there had been good interest in the property and business from all over the country. Because the property included the coast it was deemed sensitive land under Overseas Investment Act legislation, he said. Investors, tourism operators and mums and dads had inquired about the property and several information packs had been sent out including financial information which required those asking for it to sign confidentiality agreements. The owners placed the property on the market in 2014 but did not sell it at the time.

A sprawling guesthouse which played host to American soldiers during World War II and was most recently run as a luxurious Tablelands getaway has been sold. Williams Lodge on Cedar St, Yungaburra, went under contract last week with the new owners preferring to remain anonymous.

Karratha’s Tambrey Tavern — believed to be the largest hospitality venue in the North West — has sold, with sources revealing a price tag of about $7 million. With a licence for more than a 1000 people, and turning over more than $13 million a year, it has long been a local favourite. However, its popularity did not stop it falling into the hands of receivers McGrathNicol in April 2017. It was sold recently by Ryan McGinnity and Chloe Mason of CBRE Hotels. The tavern sits on two lots spanning 2.59ha and includes a tavern, bistro, function centre and an 850sqm super-sized retail liquor store. Mr McGinnity says the sale highlights renewed confidence in the sector with a number of buyers missing out on the asset. “As the resources sector improves, CBRE expect buyers to focus on the North West and the higher returns it offers,” he said.

A slice of Olinda real estate paradise has hit the market. The reception venue and cafe are nestled in Parks Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens, located within the Yarra Ranges public gardens. The botanic gardens have more than 15,000 rhododendrons, 12,000 azaleas, 3000 camellias, 250,000 daffodils and cherry trees. The 42ha garden is within walking distance of the Olinda township. Fletchers Yarra Ranges director Glenn Gardiner said the space had recently been renovated, and had a reception area that could fit between 120 to 150 people. He said the gardens attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, and Parks Victoria had been expanding the foliage. The cafe is running with a long lease and the space has its own entrance, so parking is available when the park is closed. “There are alfresco decks which can be used for a function,” Mr Gardiner said. “The cafe is trading very well, with staff.” The 550sq m venue is on the market for $380,000, and interested parties can phone Mr Gardiner on 0418 376 144.

For the first time in 40 years, the iconic Birdsville Hotel is set to change hands this month after it was sold to a New South Wales couple. The sale is in its final stages, with former co-owners Jo and Kym Fort and David and Nell Brook happy to see that “the old girl” will be in good hands. “You want to make sure you pass it on to someone who’ll possibly do it even better than you,” Jo Fort said. New owners Courtney and Talia Ellis are very familiar with Birdsville and life in the Channel Country, having travelled through the town many times in the last decade. Ms Ellis, a former outback pilot, worked for a company based at the Oodnadatta Track before becoming the chief pilot at Spirit Aviation. Mr Ellis is a co-founder of Outback Spirit Tours, which specialises in outback tourism. They often stop off in Birdsville for work and when travelling with their kids, and said they loved the small town and had often talked about owning the pub. “The outback has been the business of my life for 20 years, so it’s not like it’s new to me and certainly not new to Talia, so it’s not like we’re going for this big sea change — it’s always been part of us,” Mr Ellis said. “The long and short of it is, a few things fell into place and we decided to take the plunge and buy it.”

One of the “first four” motels built in Cairns has been listed on the market after remaining in the hands of its owner for 15 years. The freehold title for the Tuscan-styled building which occupies Adobe Motel and Little Ricardo’s pizzeria at Cairns North can be picked up for a cool $1.5 million. However the owners of the pizzeria and motel businesses are willing to negotiate the sale of their entities as a package with the freehold title. The budget motel which has 15 rooms and two managers’ quarters was listed for sale on December 28 and owner Joseph Saliba had already received 12 inquiries before the new year. Mr Saliba bought the motel in 2004. At the time it included an unoccupied restaurant space. With his partner Somkhit and son, Angelo, the family operated the motel themselves while renovating the building over a four-year period, which eventually led to Little Ricardo’s returning to the space. Three years ago Mr Saliba sold the motel business, which he said was turning over about $350,000 a year, and continued as the owner of the building. Now the 60-year-old is selling the freehold title so he can “phase into retirement”, and said it would be an ideal acquisition for investors or families. “It’s been a great business and I think I’ve put as much effort as I could into it,” Mr Saliba said. “The two businesses here – the restaurant and the motel – have some years to run on their leases so it would be a good buy for an investor because they’ll have that return. “It would also work well as a family business because they have the option to negotiate buying out the restaurant and motel as well.” Mr Saliba said his motel had been unaffected by the rise of Airbnb and the recent construction of the three Crystalbrook Collection hotels because the Adobe Motel appealed to a unique market. “Those (luxury hotels) are great but not everyone can afford $400 a night,” he said. “Airbnb targets people holidaying and we did get some budget travellers, but our market was really people who came to town to work a few days a week. “In our first five years, we were fully booked out every day and since Airbnb we’ve still managed above 90 per cent occupancy.”

In Sydney’s first major pub sale for the year, the Harbord Beach Hotel in the suburb of Freshwater has been sold to a syndicate of local business people in a deal worth around $30m. The hotel, with 23 pokies, sold to local residential real estate executive Glenn Piper, who heads the syndicate, after about a year of negotiations in an off-market deal. The vendors were former Australian Hotels Association NSW president John Thorpe and his partner Trish King, who have owned and lived in the 1928-built pub since 1978. Mr Piper, who would not be drawn on the price paid, plans to spend up to $3m renovating the pub, 100m from Freshwater Beach, and revealed his plans to convert the existing accommodation area above the pub into a rooftop bar. Specialist hotel agent Andrew Jolliffe of HTL Property said Sydney’s Northern Beaches had recorded $250m worth of hotel sales in the past few years, including The Newport, Belrose Hotel, Collaroy Hotel, Mona Vale Hotel and Hotel Steyne. Mr Jolliffe, a director of HTL Property, said there had been three freehold hotel sales in the first week of 2020, including the Harbord, which was “evidence of broad positivity and the well-placed confidence that underwrites our view for continued transactional activity and sector prosperity”. Mr Jolliffe said the sale was an example of well-funded local interests protecting the provenance of the “community meeting place”, adding that Newcastle’s Kent Hotel and Balmain’s Unity Hall Hotel had both recently sold to local business people. Mr Piper, who founded Sydney-based investment real estate agency Meridian Australia in 2011, said he was attracted to the pub because it was in a prominent position in one of Sydney’s best beachside suburbs. He said the emphasis would be on its food and beverages but the poker machines would remain. “Freshwater is not so much a gaming area,” he said. A registered real estate agent, Mr Piper is also a director and shareholder of residential developer Pyco. Local businessman Lachlan Cottee is also a substantial shareholder in the Harbord Beach Hotel. Mr Piper retained more than 50 per cent ownership.

Geordie Clark and James Henty have sold the Kincumber Hotel to the Hunter Hotel Group for $15 million. HTL Property’s Dan Dragicevich and Andrew Jolliffe handled the off-market deal. Hunt Hospitality has divested Lakeside Village Tavern. Raymond Terrace, for $12 million to publican Nicholas Quinn and his syndicate. Mr Dragicevich and Blake Edwards advised on the sale.