NEWS PROPERTY

A crocodile-inhabited wilderness retreat at the gateway to the Northern Territory’s Kakadu Wetlands has been listed for sale for the first time. Mary River Wilderness Retreat covers around 400 hectares on the Arnheim Highway, about 90 kilometres from Darwin. It includes 3 kilometres of Mary River frontage, where guests can get up close with crocodiles. The 26-bungalow resort was developed by Lynn Frost, who acquired the former melon farm in 2007 with the idea of creating a retreat suitable for corporate gatherings. “I had previously worked in the motor industry and knew there was very little in Darwin for group functions and conferences,” Ms Frost said. “It was really rundown, totally dilapidated when I bought it,” Ms Frost built new cabins, a pool and staff quarters and converted some of the old farm buildings into amenities within the resort, which opened in 2008. A crocodile tour boat operator offers river cruises from the resort. “There’s lots of birdlife, rock wallabies and the goannas and lizards are starting to return since they got rid of the cane toads,” she said. A few years ago “due to personal circumstances” she sold the resort’s leasehold. It is now operated by Saltwater Hotels & Resorts. Olivia Thompson from Landmark Harcourts is marketing Mary River Wilderness Retreat with offers in excess of $2.8 million on a walk-in,walk-out basis.

Ascott Residence Trust has snapped up the Quest Serviced Apartments in Macquarie Park for $46 million on a yield of mid five per cent. Located at 71 Epping Road, Macquarie Park, the property offers 111 serviced apartment-style hotel rooms comprising a mix of studios, one and two bedrooms apartments, with full kitchens and laundry facilities. Savills Australia Hotels Managing Director Michael Simpson, who negotiated the off-market sale on behalf of vendor Tuggeranong Valley Rugby Union and Sports Club Limited (Vikings Group), said the transaction reflected the strong appetite for Australian hotels from offshore capital.

The land, buildings and businesses sustaining one of the biggest commercially-run olive estates, function venue and restaurant empires in New Zealand have been placed on the market for sale. Simunovich Olive Estate in the Bombay Hills some 50 kilometres south of Auckland is home to approximately 30,000 olive trees which have been yielding progressively bigger crop tonnages for nearly two decades – all of which have been pressed and bottled at the estate’s own pressing plant. The countryside hilltop location also houses the Bracu Pavilion function venue, and the separate Bracu Restaurant – along with multiple dwellings used for staff accommodation.

Kellys Beach Resort at Bargara, near Bundaberg, is up for sale for the first time in 16 years with an asking price of $1.35 million.

Gordon Group boss Moishe Gordon has listed the old pub on the south-western corner of Kew Junction for sale. The Kew Hotel is being offered with vacant possession in an expressions of interest campaign closing on April 8. The property at 99 High Street was owned by Mr Gordon’s mother Betty Gordon since 1985. Zoned Commercial 1, it’s on a 638 sq m piece of land with 55 metres frontage to the busy junction with neighbouring offices and hotels in the surrounds. Colliers agents Alex Browne, Ted Dwyer and Guy Wells have the listing and are expecting interest in the mid-$6 million range.

One of Sydney’s newest CBD hotels, the 4.5 star Vibe Darling Harbour, has been snapped up by a first-time buyer in the Australian hotel market for $108 million. JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group’s Craig Collins and Andrew Langsford brokered the sale of the WMK-designed 145-key hotel, delivered last year by Sydney developer Icon Oceania. Langsford said the sale of the asset, which also includes a rooftop bar and swimming pool, was the first of its kind in some time. “This is the first acquisition of a quality Sydney CBD hotel for several years. The campaign attracted a huge amount of global investor interest,” Langsford said.

After four years and three months, Bowen’s Queens Beach Hotel has been sold to ALH Group.

The Captain Cook Hotel, a heritage-listed pub with a gaming room and accommodation in the south-east Sydney suburb of Botany, has sold for $17 million in an off-market deal to local businessman Warren Livingstone. Mr Livingstone, the founder and managing director of sports-tourism group Fanatics, bought the property, which is located in the commercial precinct of Botany – between Sydney Airport and the Port of Sydney – from its long-time owners, the Shannon family. The pub, which was built in 1906, operates under a 24-hour liquor licence and has 18 gaming machines. A development application has been approved for a new gaming room. It’s the third pub Mr Livingstone owns in Sydney – he bought the Charing Cross Hotel in Waverley in 2013 and Hotel William in Darlinghurst in 2017, which has since re-opened as Hyde Park House. “It is nice to get some economies of scale and buying power. I’m in it for the long haul now but I still enjoy taking a few sporting events around the world every now and then,” he said. HTL Property’s Sam Handy and Daniel Dragicevich negotiated the off-market transaction. “The hotel’s gaming performance is well placed to improve following the introduction of a gaming room smoking solution, especially when considering the already very strong and proximate competitor set,” Mr Handy said. Mr Dragicevich said the hotel market in Sydney was strong with a flurry of deals kickstarting 2020 as buyers competed over very few assets on the market. It is the third freehold sale in metro Sydney this year following the acquisition of Alexandria’s Camelia Grove for $16 million and the purchase by former Wallaby front-rower Bill Young of Five Dock’s Illinois for about $15 million. Mr Dragicevich said the Botany asset was not sold on traditional yield metrics, but noted that freehold pubs in the Sydney Metro area were, more broadly, trading on yields of between 7.5 per cent and 8.5 per cent. The Botany transaction follows the sale of the adjacent Waterworks Hotel on behalf of listed company Lantern Hotels for $17.25 million in 2016.