NEWS PROPERTY

Mokau locals chat about the lifestyle that awaits new business owners. If you’re the sort of can-do Kiwi who’s always up for a challenge, then what about swapping your city home for an entire town – and safeguarding a classic piece of New Zealand history. With today’s eye-watering property prices, $1.5 million doesn’t buy you much within city limits, but in the Taranaki whitebait paradise of Mōkau, that price – or thereabouts – will buy you the lion’s share of the town’s businesses. Under the hammer is The Whitebait Inn for $950,000, owned by Clare and Dave Harding, the Mōkau Butchery and house which has been owned by Graham and Gloria Putt for the past 29 years and is for sale for a negotiable $450,000. So far, seems simple. But actually, those two businesses are far more than their names suggest. The Whitebait Inn comes with a camping ground and shop, it is the town’s de facto takeaway, restaurant and post office. The owner also has the responsibility for handing over supplies to a courier twice a week who then drives for hours into the surrounding hills to give the local farmers their mail and a top-up of milk, eggs and bread. “You have to be prepared to work, and that can be a bit of a stumbling block, but it’s certainly a very good financial business,” Clare says.And in whitebait season, it gets busy. Real busy. The sort of busy that means they make around 100 fritters a day, handing them out to visitors at $18.50 a pop. “The key is plenty of whitebait because people will tell you if there’s not,” she laughed. And in whitebait season, it gets busy. Real busy. The sort of busy that means they make around 100 fritters a day, handing them out to visitors at $18.50 a pop. “The key is plenty of whitebait because people will tell you if there’s not,” she laughed.

After recently finishing his second term at Beef Australia, Mr Cox has jumped on board at Rockhampton’s Great Western Hotel as a new part-owner and general manager.

Restaurateur Jason M Jones will open a restaurant at the heritage-listed Stamford Park Homestead in Rowville in Melbourne’s south east after inking a 400sq m retail lease with Knox City Council. The 1882-built property at 2 Emmeline Row will be home to a cafe and weekend restaurant and private dining rooms. The historic buildings has gothic gables, fretted barge boards, intricate wrought iron and a five-metre high ceiling. It is located at the entrance of Stockland’s masterplanned Satmford Park estate. Fitzroy’s Rick Berry handled the deal.

The once dilapidated Newmarket Hotel has once again been put on the market a year after renovations started. Sydney-based syndicate Leisure Investments North Queensland (LINQ) bought the Flinders St pub in September 2017 for just under $1 million. LINQ project manager Richard Mraz said this weekend marked a year since the firm had started works and now, the classy looking establishment is ready to be “handed back to the community”. Mr Mraz said just over $900,000 had been spent on the refurbishment, which included painting the building white and a complete revamp of the upstairs. “It’s got white walls, blue carpet, tongue and groove walls,” Mr Mraz said. “Only an inspection and explanation of just how strong this proposition is, the extent of the renovation and longevity of appeal will realise the true upside for the purchaser.” Mr Mraz said the price guide for the hotel was between $3-5 million, which would mark a possible profit margin of up to $3 million. “We’re talking to big hotel groups,” he said. “Once we sell this one we’ll do another one.” Mr Mraz said LINQ was interested in a number of other Townsville hotels. “I can’t disclose (which ones) yet, but the criteria is Heritage era style Hotels that need top to bottom renovation,” he said. Knight Frank agent Mark Fitzgerald, managing the sale or lease of the Newmarket Hotel, said it was ideally located and showed promising potential.

A Toolooa St motel that once provided rooms for Jimmy Barnes and Mal Meninga is set to reopen under new owners. Toolooa has been sold.

Newcastle pub owners Campbell and Clare Rogers have quietly sold three of the city’s most prominent drinking holes to Sydney hotel baron Sam Arnaout’s Iris Capital in a $30 million off-market deal. The three pubs snapped up by Iris Capital are the Sydney Junction Hotel in Hamilton, the Gunyah Hotel in Belmont (which the Rogers paid $11 million for only a year ago) and the Argenton Hotel in Glendale, which recently underwent a multimillion-dollar refurbishment. The three pubs are the first hospitality assets acquired in Newcastle by Iris Capital, which has amassed a large portfolio of pubs including the Colombian Hotel and Gaslight Inn in Darlinghurst, as well as retail, residential and mixed-use projects in Sydney, the Hunter Valley and Newcastle. The sale of the freehold portfolio (with no leases in place) is believed to be a record pub transaction for Newcastle. It is understood the deal was negotiated by CBRE Hotels, but the firm would neither confirm its involvement in the deal nor comment. Mr Arnaout and the Rogers’ were contacted for comment, but neither had responded by the time of publication. The sale of the Sydney Junction Hotel follows the Rogers losing a court battle this week to operate extended trading hours after police applied to revoke its 3am trading hours due to concerns about alcohol-related violence and disturbance to the local community. In May, the pub ranked among the state’s most violent according to the NSW government’s list of problem night spots.

The iProsperity Group has sold the Park Regis Hotel in Sydney’s CBD for $54.18 million to hotel developer and operator Johnson Yeh. iPG Group, an investment firm which targets wealthy Asian investors, purchased it for about $44 million in 2016 from Staywell Hospitality Group, representing a 23 per cent gain in less than two years. The 122-room hotel stratum comprises 10 levels of the 45-storey mixed-use tower at 27 Park Street. iPG Group chief executive officer Michael Gu said they chose to divest the asset after a surge in value since 2016. Mr Yeh, who leads Yeh’s Hospitality Group, has a pipeline of four hotel developments set to open in Sydney’s CBD in the next five years.

A portfolio of popular outback roadhouses is delivering some of the highest returns of any commercial assets in the country, according to the agent who is selling them. “Great outback assets can earn the owner an absolute motza,” said Trudy Crooks, sales manager of Resort Brokers Australia, who estimated the three properties, in South Australia and the Northern Territory, had earnings growth of “between 10 to 15 per cent” a year. They are being sold together with a $30 million price tag. Perhaps the best known, the Northern Territory’s Erldunda Roadhouse – “the centre of the centre of Australia” – is on the turnoff to Uluru, 200 kilometres south of Alice Springs. It has a Shell roadhouse, 46 motel units, 96 caravan sites, a restaurant, bar and takeaway, phone and internet service, as well as a menagerie that includes 30 emus, countless kangaroos and a camel.

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