Regional pub sales continue

05 March, 2020 by Vanessa Cavasinni

The regional pub market continues to flourish, with two new sales announced in the last week. 

The first is for the Railway Hotel in Yeppoon, 38 kilometres north of Rockhampton in Queensland. It marks the completion of a strategic divestment of the hotel component of Keppel Bay Plaza from independent wealth and asset management firm, Real Asset Management.

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The $6.5 million deal was brokered by JLL Hotels and Hospitality’s vice president, Tom Gleeson, and sees a new long-term lease for the hotel and adjacent Star Liquor Warehouse, expiring in 2033.

JLL’s Gleeson said: “The Railways Hotel is the premier venue in Yeppoon underpinned by strong trading across all major revenue streams and benefiting from its convenient location within Keppel Bay Plaza.”

Meanwhile in New South Wales, Canberra based O’Donnell Group has divested its third regional pub asset in as many months. The Australian Hotel in Cooma was sold before its planned auction, in a deal negotiated by HTL Property’s Xavier Plunkett, Blake Edwards and Sam Handy.

The hotel was listed and marketed for auction last week, with the deal brokered on the evening immediately before the planned auction event. The listing attracted a number of interested parties, and in the end sold to an unnamed Sydney-based operator for an undisclosed sum.

The Australian Hotel is positioned on a 1492 sqm land holding, and comes with a 2am liquor licence, 15 poker machine entitlements and 16 upstairs rooms.

This sale comes after the O’Donnell Group sold the Empire Hotel in Goulburn to a new industry operator, and then the Royal Hotel in Bungendore to Wallaby player Richard Harry.

Multiple interested buyers and a quick turnover shows that there is continued high demand for regional pub assets. The transaction marks HTL Property’s 24th regional NSW pub sale in the past 12 months.

“The NSW Regional pub market is currently the beneficiary of a large volume of unmatched metropolitan-based capital seeking regional opportunities underpinned by quality commercial property holdings and substantial gaming licence value,” said HTL Property’s Plunkett.

The appetite for regional properties in NSW this year has certainly been great, with last week seeing the Terminus Hotel in Marulan also change hands.

The sale was conducted on behalf of Sydney-based owners Peter and Nonie Butterfield, by Kate MacDonald of CBRE Hotels, and Mike Wheatley of Knight Frank Hotel Brokerage. The Southern Highlands hotel was sold to a local private investor.

The Terminus Hotel sits on a large land parcel, and its offering includes 12 PMEs.

“The Terminus presents an ideal opportunity for the purchaser to implement some quick wins to improve the performance of this local tavern, which has the rare advantage of being the only watering hole within a 30km radius,” stated MacDonald.

“The hotel is also situated in a town targeted for ‘urban expansion’ by the Goulburn Mulwaree Council. This is already evidenced by the construction of the Marulan Village Centre, a retail development anchored by IGA which was completed in early 2019.”

In another sign of the appetite for regional NSW pub assets – particularly within a couple of hours drive from Sydney – the sale campaign fielded 80 inquiries from interested parties.

Regional sales have looked healthy in the first quarter of 2020, with NSW sales including the Sutton Forest Inn – also in the Southern Highlands – sold to Reilly Group ops manager Luke Dryland; and the recent sale by Harvest Hospitality of the Australian Hotel in Yass.