The lack of hip hotels in Byron Bay, the iconic hippy township dominating northern NSW, coupled with a spike in the drive tourism market, has sealed the first hotel sale on the back of the pandemic. The newly completed Bower Hotel on Byron’s Bangalow Road, has just sold for around $18 million according to locals, to a Gold Coast based investor and hospitality veteran. Selling agent CBRE’s Wayne Bunz would not comment on the actual price paid but he said the deal was a record price for a hotel in the Byron region. Developed by two Byron locals, The Bower features 28 guest rooms on nearly 4500 sqm and featured in the prestigious Conde Nast Traveller ‘Hot List 2018.’ “Clearly Byron has been a great beneficiary of the drive market in these unprecedented times, people are very keen because of the lock downs to escape to the coast and get to Byron, Noosa, and the Gold Coast,” said Mr Bunz. “These towns will be the beneficiaries.”

For the first time in more than 20 years, Bunbury’s iconic Trafalgars Hotel is on the market. Built in the mid-1800s, the historic tavern has been operating on Victoria Street in the heart of the city for more than 150 years. But it was recently placed into receivership, with Ray White commercial selling agent Phil Zoiti appointed to its sale by receiving manager KordaMentha five weeks ago. Forced to close in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is yet to reopen, but Mr Zoiti said it was not the end for the popular haunt, rather a “new beginning” for someone looking to take it on. “You’ve got a well-positioned opportunity to acquire free-hold property with a tavern licence which has been continuously trading for more than 100 years,” he said.

The Fremantle Technical School is set for a new life under WA hospitality specialists Prendiville Group, which has acquired the longstanding landmark in a deal worth $3.55 million. The Group is currently undertaking a master-plan of the 2,444 square metre site which will consider the activation of the old Infant and Girls’ School with a food and beverage offering, as well as the establishment of a small-scale hotel atop the existing 30-bay car park. In the immediate term, the family-owned business has said it will consolidate all existing corporate staff, currently working across multiple sites in Perth and Fremantle, to 41 South Terrace.

A private equity consortium headed by former Citi and Macquarie banker Damian Kelly has increased the value of its pub fund to more than $60 million after buying the North Nowra Tavern on the NSW south coast. The big gaming venue was acquired by Mr Kelly’s Pub Invest, which also owns the Crown Hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills, the Rose & Crown Hotel in Parramatta and the Corrimal Hotel in the northern suburbs of Wollongong. Although the price was not disclosed, selling agents Dan Dragicevich, Andrew Jolliffe and Sam Handy of HTL Property had marketed it for about $14 million. The vendor was Amazonia Hotels, a joint venture between Sydney publican Mark Duggan and Gary O’Donnell. The two paid $7.85 million for the Nowra Tavern in August 2017. The tavern stands on 6019sq m at 82 Page Avenue, North Nowra. It brings in annual revenues of $7.5 million and includes 25 electronic gaming machine entitlements and a 1.30am liquor licence. Its sale comes amid tighter COVID-19 restrictions for pubs in NSW following a coronavirus outbreak at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney’s south-west. ‘‘This acquisition illustrates our investment vehicle’s fourth transaction in an asset class we feel satisfies a number of key real-return criteria, and enjoys downside mitigation factors not available to investors elsewhere’’ Mr Kelly said. ‘‘We’re granular and patient about our assessment of opportunities, but we’re deliberate when we highlight a target, and this won’t be our last.’’ The tavern was the 21st hotel sale by HTL Property this year. Mr Dragicevich, HTL’s national pubs director, said the sector continued to appeal to investors because of its attractive yields and high barriers to entry. Mr Jolliffe said key coastal and regional centres along the east coast were sought after by hospitality investors. ‘‘This is our 13th coastal freehold sale in the last 12 months,’’ he said. Also this week, developer and hotelier BMG Developments paid $28 million for the Tattersalls Hotel and Commercial Centre in the Penrith CBD. The freehold property, which includes 15 gaming machines and a 6400sq m commercial building, was sold by PSRE Penrith Pty Ltd, a fund managed by Pitt Capital Partners on behalf of Washington H Soul Pattinson and 360 Capital REIT. The off-market sale was brokered by Kate MacDonald and John Musca of JLL Hotels & Hospitality.

A private equity consortium headed by ex- Citigroup banker Damian Kelly has purchased the North Nowra Tavern on the NSW South Coast. The sale heralds Pub Invest’s fourth hotel purchase, having steadily acquired the Crown Hotel (Surry Hills), the Corrimal Hotel (Corrimal) and the Rose and Crown Hotel (Parramatta) over the last few years. Mr Kelly said they believed the asset class satisfied a number of key real-return criteria, and enjoyed downside mitigation factors not available to investors elsewhere. “We’re granular and patient about our assessment of opportunities, but we’re deliberate when we highlight a target and this won’t be our last,” he said. The sale was brokered by HTL Property, which has advised the sale of 18 hotel assets since February 2020 and has now brokered 21 sales this year.

A grand, historic mansion that’s been owned by some of Launceston’s most influential individuals is on the market. Hatherley House in High Street dates back to the 1860s, and is listed on the National Estate and Tasmanian Heritage registers. Overlooking Launceston, the mansion is one of the city’s most prominent properties. President of the Heritage Protection Society, Lionel Morrell, said it had been home to many esteemed families over the years. “Hatherley was built, I believe, just prior to the beginning of 1867 by the son of the mayor, Henry Dowling, who lived in the original house at the bottom of the garden,” he said. “It was a piece of land that was certainly dating from a grant in 1827, but the actual house was built by Mayor Dowling’s son.”

One of the oldest continually-run hospitality venues on Waiheke Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf has been placed on the market for sale. Vino Vino at 153 Ocean View Road in Oneroa is a Mediterranean-themed bar and restaurant which has been serving drinks and meals for some 27 years. The 90-seater venue is located on the hill-top ridge of Oneroa’s main street – providing unobstructed views overlooking one of Waiheke’s longest and busiest beaches just a few hundred metres away. Vino Vino makes the most of its prime position with a large outdoor deck serving area. For 10 months a year, the venue runs seven days a week opening for lunch and dinner. During July and August each year, Vino Vino is closed to allow the hands-on owners a chance to re-charge their batteries back in their beloved homeland of Croatia. Now wanting to spend more time in Croatia with their children and ever-growing number of grandchildren, the Vino Vino business – but not the land and buildings in which it is housed – is being marketed for sale by negotiation through Bayleys Real Estate’s hospitality business sales division.

The Lion Hotel will reopen in late September after being sold to a team including the owners of 2KW and the Uraidla and Crafers hotels. The newly-formed Duxton Pubs Group, formed by high-profile hoteliers Brett Matthews, Martin Palmer and Ed Peter, has bought the North Adelaide hotel from its previous owners Tim Gregg and Andrew Svencis. The deal, brokered by JLL, also included an adjacent, three level office block at 183 Melbourne St. Mr Gregg and Mr Svencis had owned and operated The Lion since 1996. “It’s been quite a journey, with many state and a few national awards along the way, but more importantly great staff and management team, and lots of wonderfully loyal customers,” Mr Gregg said. “We now look forward to assisting the new owners as we continue towards settlement later this year,” added Mr Svencis. The new owners collectively own and operate multiple hotels and premium hospitality venues across Adelaide and South Australia, including the multi award-winning Stirling Hotel, Uraidla Hotel, Crafers Hotel, 2KW Bar & Restaurant, and Paloma Bar and Pantry. The acquisition of The Lion and the establishment of Duxton Pubs Group forms part of the group’s ambitions to ramp up its investment in the local hospitality sector. “The goal is to bring in some other investors and we’ve got line of sight on five or six assets – so bring in some other people to invest with us and create a larger group,” Mr Peter said.