Laundys and Shorts further cement northern NSW presence

29 March, 2021 by Vanessa Cavasinni

In another joint Northern NSW purchase, Laundy Hotels and The Sydney Collective – this time joined by Nick and Justine Tindall (nee Laundy) – have acquired the Illawong Hotel in Evans Head.

The complex sales process, which saw the leasehold and freehold owners of the Northern Rivers pub work together for the sale, was overseen by Nick Butler and Steve Pursell of Pub Brokers & Advisory. Sources close to the sale put the purchase price at over $14 million.

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The Illawong Hotel is the only pub in Evans Head, a coastal town about an hour’s drive south of Byron Bay, and 30 minutes from the Ballina Airport. The art deco pub is situated on a 2200 sqm block, and includes 15 EGMs, an attached bottle shop and 18 first-floor accommodation rooms that enjoy high occupancy all year round. The hotel is also situated directly opposite the largest waterfront caravan park on the eastern seaboard, which quadruples the town’s population in peak holiday periods.

“The hotel brings with it all of the fundamentals of a strong hospitality business and that’s what ultimately attracted the Laundy family and Fraser Short to it. Balancing the interests of a leaseholder and freehold owner was made far easier by their recognition that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. It’s been an important factor for the owners, in making their decision to sell, that the hotel is transitioning to a family that appreciates how important the pub is to the town”.

Outgoing leaseholder Daniel Simpson jumped on the opportunity to sell the business with five years left on his lease, and wished the new owners luck in an area of burgeoning possibilities.

“I’ve loved my time at the Illawong and have enjoyed overseeing the expansion of the business during my tenure. The town of Evans Head is booming, with residential and commercial developments set to boost population and activity. I wish the new owners all the best and look forward to seeing the next phase of the hotel’s evolution. I thank my staff for their hard work and support over the years as they have made the hotel what it is.”

The new owners are not expected to make too many changes to the Illawong Hotel, but expect to capitalise on the growth of the area in the medium term.

“We think this is just a sensational coastal hotel in a town that’s already on a great trajectory. While we see potential for growth by unleashing the efficiencies of our network, we’re not going to make any massive changes to the hotel or its operation,” stated Nick Tindall.

“Fraser Short and the amazing team at Sydney Collective have a great eye for detail, so adding a little of that polish will be all that the locals will notice. Justine and I are excited to be partnering with them, as well as her broader family.”

The Illawong Hotel is the second recent joint purchase in the greater Byron Bay area from the Shorts and Laundys, after acquiring the waterfront Lennox Hotel.