NEWS PROPERTY

The hospitality and retail hub at the centre of one of the biggest multi-purpose recreational and tourism operations in the Greater Auckland region has been placed on the market for sale. Matakana Country Park in the rural township of Matakana just north of Auckland is a 17.97 hectare site encompassing multiple food and beverage operations, tourism and leisure activities, a large outdoor event and concert-hosting venue, equestrian arena, and several boutique retail outlets. Matakana Country Park was developed by entrepreneur John Baker in the early 2000s. The property sits at the axis route separating the affluent holiday-home enclave of Omaha Beach and its rustic beach and Department of Conservation park neighbour Tawharanui to the south. Matakana Country Park was sold in late 2017 to commercial property developer Brendan Coghlan who is now upgrading the park with the objective of increasing tourist numbers to the site. Mr Coughlan has placed the commercial component of Matakana Country Park on the market for sale in order to fund the extensive redevelopment and improvements to the surrounding infrastructure.

Centro Group of Companies has bought the Best Western Plus Lake Kawana Hotel in Birtinya after an expressions of interest campaign on behalf of the vendor Triple B Motels. Centro director Michael Carr said the hotel will be added to the group’s growing accommodation portfolio. “We are also excited to announce that there will be a rebranding of the hotel to an international brand,” he said. The 4.5-star hotel opened in November 2015 and has 81 suites, a licensed restaurant and bar Wildfire and two adjoining function rooms.

Facilimate Hotels is continuing to expand with the acquisition of the 82 room Coral Cay Resort in Mackay, Queensland bringing the total to six hotels in Australia that Facilimate Hotels currently owns and operates. Managing Director Stephen Lauder said, “Our investment strategy is driven by the desire to purchase attractively priced hotels with vacant possession in key cities and regional markets. Then with a refurbishment, new sales and marketing approach and centralising support services we are able to reposition the hotel”.

The snap $41.7 million purchase of retail billionaire Gerry Harvey’s prized Byron at Byron resort on the NSW North Coast has further bolstered the Australian hospitality holdings of Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud. The sale of the resort, which was jointly owned by Mr Harvey and a Harvey Norman Holdings subsidiary, ends an era for the retailer who pioneered the development of the resort and spa in 2005.

The Yeh’s Group has bought the Seasons Harbour Plaza Sydney in a long-running play that will bolster a quiet Sydney hotel market that’s seen few deals struck this year. The market is also awaiting the finalisation of a move by Singapore’s acquisitive Royal Group Holdings to buy one of Sydney’s last dowager hotels, the landmark Sofitel Wentworth, for more than $300 million. Hoteliers have been hit by new openings that have caused room rates to soften, although the low dollar could prompt a pick up in tourism business and demand remains strong.

Iconic Pilbara building the Whim Creek Hotel has been bought by a local Aboriginal corporation believed to be focusing on indigenous cultural offerings at the site —but it will likely be at least another six months before the building is ready to re-open. The sale of the historic hotel, which is one of the oldest buildings in the Pilbara, was settled on July 5, with Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation agreeing to buy the building. NAC formerly part-owned the hotel with Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Ltd, which was forced to sell the asset after going into administration last year, but will now be the sole owner. The NAC board is considering options for indigenous tourism and cultural education at the site and may outsource operation of the hotel, bar and cafe to a third-party company. It is also understood that implementation of the corporation’s vision is expected to take at least six months and the building will remain closed in the interim.

Darling Harbour’s Vibe Hotel might have a new owner before its doors have even opened, with the property’s developer and owner Icon Oceania hoping to cash in on the shortage of new hotels in Sydney by putting it up for sale. The 145-room, 4.5-star hotel, at 319-325 Sussex Street, is scheduled to open in September. Andrew Langsford, senior vice-president of JLL’s Hotels and Hospitality Group, said the decision to sell was a “relatively recent development”, with Icon Oceania wanting to “capitalise on the opportunities in the hotel marketplace currently occurring around the country”. They had price expectations of $100 million or more, he said. The hotel will operate under a management agreement with TFE Hotels, whose 73-property portfolio includes the Adina, Vibe and Travelodge brands.

A Sydney-based hotelier has snapped up one of the southern Gold Coast’s better known pubs, boosting his family’s strong presence in the Sunshine State. Joe Irvin of the privately owned Irvin Hotel Group is believed paid between $16 million and $18 million for the multistorey Coolangatta Sands Hotel after a campaign by HTL Property. The property was previously owned by the Taphouse Group — linked to the founders of marketing company Salmat, Philip Salter and Peter Mattick.