NEWS PROPERTY

Adelaide’s Watermark Hotel in Glenelg has sold for $25 million, marking the CBD’s biggest pub sale in 20 years. The Elmes family offloaded the property to Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group after owning it for 22 years. The 8395sq m complex at 631 Anzac Highway has 40 gaming machines, a 15-room motel and a drive-thru bottle shop, McGees Property Adelaide’s Grant Clarke and James Juers handled the sale.

Kuwaiti-owned Action Hotels Group has listed the 3.5 star Ibis Glen Waverley for sale, the first major Melbourne hotel to hit the market this year. Action Hotels Group, listed on the London Stock Exchange and founded by Sheikh Mubarak, heir to the Kuwaiti throne, developed the suburban hotel in 2007, in conjunction with Accor. The offering comes as hotel builders and operators flock to the city. At least 10 new hotels are due to open in Melbourne this year. Even Sydney developer, “high-rise” Harry Triguboff, has finally entered the Melbourne market, buying one of Besgate’s sites at 140 King Street, through Colliers International, for a Meriton Suites tower. CBRE Hotels agents Wayne Bunz – a former hotel chef – and Scott Callow are handling the expressions of interest campaign which closes in mid-May. The 155-room hotel is at 297 Springvale Road on the other side of the council offices from Century City and Vicinity’s The Glen shopping centre. It includes a cafe, restaurant, bar, conference and function facilities and a large business centre. Late last year, Mr Bunz sold the Ibis Brisbane to Worldwide Hotels for around $100 million. “On the back of that we had a number of parties approach us regarding this property,” he said. “We convinced Action to take it to market. This is an absolute workhorse of a hotel.” “People might say there’s a lot of hotel stock coming on the market in Melbourne but it’s the most resilient hotels market in the country, because of the year round events calendar,” he said. In late 2016, iProsperity paid $73.66 million for the larger Novotel hotel nearby and industry sources suggest the Ibis will fetch around $55 million.

Ascott Residence Trust (Ascott Reit) is buying a 150-room business hotel near Sydney Airport in Australia for A$60.6 million (S$58.8 million), the hospitality trust announced on Wednesday (March 27) during the mid-day trading break. The freehold limited-service Felix Hotel will be rebranded as Citadines Connect Sydney Airport upon completion of the deal in May 2019, the trust manager said. The acquisition will be the trust’s first business hotel in Australia and its first property to be managed by its sponsor, The Ascott Ltd, under the new Citadines Connect brand. It will be funded by bank loans, divestment proceeds from the previously announced sale of Ascott Raffles Place Singapore, or a combination of both. The deal has an Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) yield of 6 per cent. Assuming that the acquisition is fully funded by bank loans, the trust’s gearing will increase from 37.4 per cent as at end-Dec 2018 and accounting for funding for lyf one-north Singapore, to 38.2 per cent, before accounting for proceeds from the Ascott Raffles Place divestment, which is due to complete in May. Rooms at the hotel, which was completed in February 2018, range fro 18 to 40 square metres. The building sits next to the 91-unit Quest Mascot, which is also owned by Ascott Reit and has an occupancy rate of more than 85 per cent. Beh Siew Kim, chief executive of the trust manager, said the acquisition “will enable us to leverage scale and increased operational efficiency from the clustering effect across these Ascott-managed properties.”

A popular Yeppoon tourist park has been listed for sale. The caravan park at 9 Scenic Hwy, has 103 sites, including 12 cabins and 21 permanent residences, as well as 12 non-powered and 58 powered caravan sites.

Subiaco’s Vic Hotel, which has fought back to retain its post-football mojo with backpacker meal deals and cheap beer, is for sale and expected to fetch about $8 million. The property owner and the pub operator are collaborating to test renewed optimism about Subiaco’s prospects with the lure of a walk-in, walk-out sale delivering future development upside to an owner operator. CBRE’s Aaron Desange, Ryan McGinnity and Chloe Mason are selling the hotel, at 226 Hay Street, as a freehold going concern, with 2000sqm of land, a two-level building and all the business assets. The Vic Hotel, first opened in 1898, has a big bar, open kitchen, restaurant and dining, alfresco and function space over two levels and 54 onsite parking bays. It has been managed by operators including Black Toms and ALH Group and had a substantial renovation in the 1980s. The pub received a big boost in publicity this time last year when the so-called ‘beer wars’ erupted among some licensed venues in Perth. The Vic Hotel made the decision to start selling $3.50 pints in a bid to get more people through the door. Expressions of interest close on April 17.

AXA Investment Managers’ real assets business has bought three hotels in Sydney’s Olympic Park and one in Canberra’s CBD as part of a $330 million acquisition. Novotel, Ibis and Pullman sit close to each other at Olympic Park which is home to ANZ Stadium, Qudos Bank Arena and Spotless Stadium. The precinct hosted 5500 events in 2017-2018 and 10.5 million visitors. “AXA IM – Real Assets’ Sydney based team has a strong conviction over the long term investment performance of the Sydney Olympic Park hotels due to the forecast economic, residential and worker population growth in western Sydney, coupled with a growing calendar of events that are held in the park annually,” AXA said in a statement.

US snow resort operator Vail Resorts has taken another piste of Australia’s high country, paying $174 million to buy Victoria’s largest ski fields Falls Creek and Hotham Alpine resorts. Vail already owns and operates the Perisher resort in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains, which it has run for five years. The US-based giant also owns a string of famous ski resorts in North America – Whistler Blackcomb, Heavenly, Beaver Creek and its namesake, Vail, among them. Vail Resorts said it would acquire Falls Creek, Victoria’s largest alpine resort, and Hotham Alpine Resort in Australia’s ‘Powder Capital’ from a subsidiary of British-based amusement park behemoth Merlin Entertainments. The purchase includes the ski school, retail, rental, reservation and property management operations at both resorts. “We are thrilled to welcome the guests and employees of both Falls Creek and Hotham into the Vail Resorts family and further strengthen our position in Australia, which is one of our most important international markets,” chief executive Rob Katz said in a statement on the company’s website. “The acquisition of the leading mountain resorts in Victoria is part of our continued strategy to drive season pass sales and build loyalty with guests from around the world.” The deal is expected to be finalised before the Australian snow season kicks off in June. Vail said it plans to retain the vast majority of each resort’s employees. The deal will give skiers and boarders access to Vail’s Epic Pass, which includes skiing and riding at some of the largest and most celebrated resorts in the US, Canada, Japan and Australia. The company said it expects Falls Creek and Hotham to generate earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of around $18 million in the first year of operation following acquisition. Vail is not the only international operator expanding in Australia’s snowfields. Two years ago the cashed-up global hotel behemoth Wyndham Destinations took a $20 million stake in small boutique Peppers Resort and multiple individual homes at Dinner Plain near Mount Hotham.

Two iconic wayside stops at opposite ends of the Northern Territory are for sale. Illness has forced Frank Aleksandrowicz to call time at the Hayes Creek Wayside Inn and Holiday Park 150 kilometres south of Darwin. The Kulgera Roadhouse is the first and last pub before the South Australia/ NT border and its owners need to move interstate for family commitments. When Mr Aleksandrowicz, 70, bought Hayes Creek Wayside Inn it was going to be his place of retirement. “Sadly it hasn’t worked out that way,” he said. “My kidneys have packed it in and I am on dialysis and driving back and forth to Darwin is just too hard, so I’ve moved to Melbourne where I am just 10 minutes away from the hospital. “Hayes Creek is a beaut spot, I loved it there. It is a great set up with cabins and caravan/camping sites, but I’m crook and I had no other choice. “You get to meet some good people passing through so I am going to miss that.” Hayes Creek is a gateway to World War II sites and the Northern Goldfields loop with easy access to Litchfield National Park, Batchelor, Pine Creek and the Douglas Hot Springs Park. The Kulgera Roadhouse is on almost 11 hectares of freehold land surrounded by cattle stations and is around 20 kilometres from the South Australia border in Central Australia. It has 55 cabins, motel rooms, units and powered sites, a pub, restaurant, general store and swimming pool.