QHA’s Publican of the Year nabs the Shearers Arms

27 February, 2020 by Vanessa Cavasinni

Matt Coorey has purchased the Shearers Arms Hotel in a joint venture with Sydney-based Royal Hotels.

Coorey and his partners purchased the freehold of the Gold Coast region pub for an undisclosed amount, off South Australia-based owners the Cornish and Murphy families. The off-market transaction was negotiated by HTL Property’s Glenn Price, Brent McCarthy and Andrew Jolliffe.

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The well-known Ormeau pub sits on a 12,000 sqm land parcel and is situated only 20 minutes away from Coorey’s other hotel, The Boardwalk Tavern. The Shearers Arms proposition includes multiple bars, a restaurant, gaming room with 40 EGM permits, and a bottle shop.

“Having run the ruler across countless opportunities over the past few years, I’m delighted to now have the opportunity to pick up the reins on the Shearer’s, particularly given its close proximity to my other hotel property the Boardwalk Tavern,” stated Coorey.

“My style is very hands on and I expect the hotel and surrounding community will respond well to an owner/operator model.”

The QHA 2019 Publican of the Year said that he was pleased to partner with Royal Hotels on the joint venture, saying they would bring the experience of having worked with similar large-format pub assets. Royal Hotels operates the Gregory Hills Hotel, and is currently completing the sale of its freehold to HPI.

“The Royal Hotels JV makes sense to us as it gives us improved scale, enhances our operational know-how and aligns us with strategic partners who understand the asset class. They will not be silent partners, but we will be managing the day-to-day operations,” Coorey told Australian Hotelier.

There are no concrete plans as yet to revamp the hotel, but with such a large parcel of land, Coorey said there is certainly scope to add to and improve the existing offer.

Gold Coast appeal

The Gold Coast region has proved to be an in-demand market for pubs assets in the last six months, particularly with interstate operators, and the interest in the Shearers Arms was no exception.

“Alongside Ron Currey, we were able to garner interest from all the significant Queensland hotel operating groups, as well as those national investment footprints and leading hospitality-based vehicles, domiciled in both NSW and Victoria,” stated Price.

“The scarcity of available A-grade product meant the interest in the opportunity was so high we could have sold the asset five times over.”

Coorey puts the national interest in the Gold Coast market down to the growth potential of the area, combined with strong yields.

“The Gold Coast has always been such a tightly-held market with a huge presence from the multinationals. It may be a coincidence that there have been a spate of sales lately but it’s no coincidence that it is the southern buyers who are the ones snapping up the few opportunities that have arisen.

“The Treetops at Burleigh, The Boathouse Tavern, The Coolangatta Sands, The Mermaid Beach and now the Shearers Arms, all have some southern ownership. Buyers are drawn to the stronger yields but also the Gold Coast presents robust population growth, an international airport, amazing climate and ‘postcard perfect’ beaches, which are all compelling reasons for why opportunities in this region are few and far between.”