Landmark hotel property available for first time in 20 years

24 June, 2019 by Craig Hawtin-Butcher

Prime pub property comes to market on the back of some key recent sales.

One of the most tightly held hotel precincts in Australia is now offering up a trophy hotel for the first time in 20 years.

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John Musca and the team at JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group have confirmed they’re inviting Expressions of Interest for the Harbour View Hotel, in Sydney’s The Rocks. The sellers’ agents believe the property will achieve $12m, they say.

The hotel market is proving resilient despite the economy, with JLL’s Nick Butler saying: “JLL have over $250m of pub sales currently in various stages of negotiation or agreement across the country so the capital drivers clearly remain compelling to both public and private equity sources across the board.”

Rebuilt in 1924 to keep workers of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in good spirits during the bridge’s construction, the Harbour View Hotel’s current private owners are now retiring, opening up the hotel to the market.

“This is a compelling asset,” says JLL National Director John Musca, “with the hotel licence and gaming entitlements having a separate, tangible $3 million value, savvy property people have the opportunity of owning the building for less than the price you would pay for an exclusive house in the area”.

The opportunity comes at a particularly buoyant period in the hotel market, which has seen numerous sales in Sydney and continued consolidation. Butler finalised the sale of the Empire Hotel in Annandale for $10.3 million this week, which came following JLL’s sales of the leasehold interests in the Criterion Hotel and PJ’s Enfield for around $20 million combined.

The Harbour View Hotel represents one of the few freehold hotels in the Rocks area, which attracts over 2.7 million visitors per year and was once a haunt of actor Paul Hogan and filming location for the 1982 Australian movie Starstruck.

“The Harbour View is the last of the freehold pubs you can buy in the Rocks and with such an underperforming business and a world-class location, it has broader appeal than your average hotel,” says JLL’s Nick Butler.

Renovated and extended over the years, the hotel now includes the ground floor Oval Bar, gaming room with 15 poker machines, first-floor bar and restaurant, multiple function rooms, manager’s apartment, garage, lift and two outdoor terraces. Naturally these terraces offer superb water views and the Sydney Harbour Bridge after which it’s named.

“It’s a very special, generational asset for an investor or hotelier and, subject to relevant approvals, the Harbour View could also make an aspirational office or residence as well as a hotel,” says Musca.

Iris Capital also announced their acquisition of the Cambridge Tavern for $56 million this week in a deal brokered by John Musca who says of the Cambridge Tavern:

“The sheer scale of this half hectare site along with its history as a top state-based gaming and wagering business, really played to the unique pedigree of Iris as hotel operators and eventual site optimisers.”

The Rocks features as Sydney’s top two tourism destination for international and domestic tourists, with an estimated 2.7 million visitors staying overnight per year along with the location’s many day visitors.

Expressions of Interest for the Harbour View Hotel close Thursday 25th July.