NEWS PROPERTY

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.

One of Hawke’s Bay’s most historic homes, Ormlie Lodge in Napier, a majestic two-storey homestead built in 1899 by wealthy farmer William Nelson as a wedding present to his daughter Gertrude, has been placed on the market for sale. Gertrude Smith and her husband Hector lived at Ormlie Lodge their entire married lives – with Gertrude passing away in 1955, and Hector remaining at the homestead for another seven years until he sold it in 1962 just before his death at the age of 93. Subsequently the homestead was turned into a private hotel, and its stables were converted into one of Hawkes Bay’s finest restaurants “The Stables” which was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1985. The homestead reflects the wealth of its owner and the era in which it was built – consisting of six large bedrooms, a formal sitting room, parlor, farmhouse kitchen and an impressive entrance foyer. Ormlie’s building infrastructure also includes a cottage currently separated into two units (one presently without a kitchen) and suitable for conversion into either an owner/manager’s residence or as additional accommodation.

The owner of a near 50-year-old motel — which has an approved development application in place for 133 apartments — is cutting ties with the Southport site. Real Properties Qld Pty Ltd, linked to David Spankie, is selling the 20 Queen St property, which is close to the Broadwater Parklands light rail station and two blocks over from a 15-story tower currently under construction. The property owner submitted a development application, later approved for a 14-level tower with 133 units — 61 with one bedroom, 54 with two bedrooms and 18 with three bedrooms. Colliers International’s James Crawford and James Holland are marketing the motel in an expressions of interest campaign closing on August 29.

The land and buildings encompassing a boutique commercial accommodation provider overlooking of New Zealand’s longest remote coastline has been placed on the market for sale. Sunset View Lodge is positioned on an elevated site above Baylys Beach west of Dargaville in Northland. The 477 square metre lodge with its six guest suites, sits on some 4228 square metres of freehold land. Sunset View Lodge was established in 2006 as a purpose-built commercial accommodation property run on a part-time basis. The venue’s guest rooms are orientated around two sides of an in-ground swimming pool and expansive deck area – with a vista across kilometres of undulating stock grazing paddocks, to the North impressive views of the Tasman Sea to the West.

The NSW pub market was yesterday bolstered by the sale of the western Sydney watering house the Royal Hotel in Richmond to pub veteran Peter Wynne in an $18 million deal. HTL Property director Andrew Jolliffe said it was the ninth major NSW hotel sale since June 30 and augured well for pub sales for the remainder of the year. A total of $900m worth of pubs sold in the last financial year, according to Mr Jolliffe, who added that in the past two weeks a total of $132.5m hotels had already changed hands. It started two weeks ago with pub mogul Arthur Laundy buying The Oxford Hotel in Drummoyne for just under $42m, with the latest sale being the popular Royal Hotel in Richmond, Mr Jolliffe said. The Royal Hotel on a 1760sq m site sports 29 pokies and a valuable 3am liquor licence with early opener flexibility. Its buyer, Mr Wynne, previously owned the highly popular Martin Place Bar in the Sydney CBD that he sold in order to make way for a new metro train station. Mr Wynne has been actively pursuing pub opportunities of late, buying The Royal Hotel in an off-market deal from publican Mal Russell, who is leaving the industry, through HTL agents Dan Dragicevich and Sam Handy. HTL Property predicts a further tightening of freehold yields.