It’s been a big week of pub property transactions with Australian Venue Co, Laundy Hotels, Ark Group and the newly-formed Lancer Group among the buyers.

Australian Venue Co. (AVC) has announced it will soon be operating the beachfront pub the Apollo Bay Hotel, located at Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.

AVC said this is its first Great Ocean Road acquisition, and the group has entered into an exclusivity agreement with the freehold acquirer, with a settlement expected in the coming months.

The historic, beachside venue has a family-friendly bistro, al fresco dining on a large veranda, accommodation and a function room, and was sold by its owners of the past 30 years, Stephen and Christine McMahon.

AVC CEO Paul Waterson said the acquisition was an exciting addition to the group’s strong Victorian portfolio.

“Apollo Bay is an iconic Victorian destination, and the Apollo Bay Hotel is a historic local landmark. We’re very excited to be part of the pub’s next chapter and to work with the team.

“We have a strong track record operating pubs in regional areas and in popular holiday destinations and look forward to joining the community in Apollo Bay.”

JLL Hotels vice president Will Connolly, who managed the Apollo Bay Hotel sale, says the national appetite for coastal pubs continues with the hotly contested sale campaign drawing over 150 enquiries.

“The level of enquiry and buyer participation was certainly testament to the reverence held to the Apollo Bay Hotel,” Connolly said.

“We received five incredible offers at the culmination of our EOI campaign and with just the right level of competitive tension, we were able to produce an acceptable result for our delighted vendors at a level significantly above our original price guide of $10.5m plus.”

Connolly says JLL is currently managing the sale of another Great Ocean pub, the Wye Beach Hotel in the seaside town of Wye River between Apollo Bay and Lorne.

New Albury Hotel, Albury

New Albury Hotel

An AVC-tennanted hotel, the New Albury Hotel in Albury in NSW has also changed hands with the freehold purchased by a local, well-known hotelier.

The hotel was in receivership due to a family legal dispute, with the Soden’s Australian Hotel, also in Albury, sold under the same circumstances in May last year.

The heritage-listed New Albury Hotel sold for $13.2m at a hotly contested auction where individual bids rose by as much as $900,000, according to Manenti Quinlan & Associates and D.J. May Real Estate which were appointed by receiver FerrierSilvia to manage the freehold sale.

Following an opening offer of $8 million, six parties competed for the premium-grade asset, with a well-known local hotelier emerging as the eventual buyer, Manenti Quinlan’s Leonard Bongiovanni said.

“There was strong interest from a broad range of potential buyers throughout the sales campaign. We fielded enquiries from institutional and private investors and several experienced hoteliers, all attracted by the asset’s quality and the prospect of partnering with a blue-chip, long-term tenant in the Australian Venue Co,” he said.

“The result was well above expectations,” said broker and auctioneer Doug May from D.J. May Real Estate. “We blew past the reserve and kept going, showing there’s still an exceptionally strong market for regional hotel investments, particularly those with an A-grade tenant in place.”

Paddington Ale House, Perth

Paddington Ale House

The Ark Hospitalithy Group has announced the recent purchase of The Paddington Ale House in Mount Hawthorn, Perth.

A community landmark, The Paddo is a 1930’s historical pub, and the sale marks the first time the site has changed hands in the last four decades.

The family-owned group has been restoring another historical site in WA, The Bassendean Hotel, which is set to reopen later this year.

The sale was negotiated by Ryan McGinnity of CBRE, with settlement set to occur mid-April. The Paddo will continue to trade as normal with a revitalisation of the site to be planned for later in the year.

“The Paddo is the cornerstone hotel of Mount Hawthorn and we’re proud to take on the custodian role of a pub with such a rich history dating back to the 1930s,” says Ark Group general manage Adam Kapinkoff said.

“Mount Hawthorn is a vibrant place to be, with an impressive line-up of restaurants, cafes and retail outlets – we’re looking forward to playing a role in this community and offering them a local everyone can enjoy.”

Mercure Central Hotel, Port Macquarie

Mercure Central Hotel

Laundy Hotels, meanwhile, has acquired the Mercure Centro Hotel – a 4.5 star, 72 room corporate hotel in the coastal NSW city and tourist destination of Port Macquarie.

Long term owner HLF sold the freehold going concern in an off-market transaction managed by HTL Property, with Laundy Hotels teaming up with local hospitality operator Alistair Flower on the new venue.

“Whilst not housed in the same equity structure as our other beachside accommodation assets in Noosa, Manly and Terrigal, this coastal property intersects perfectly with our national investment objectives, and adds deftly to the growing portfolio,” Stu Laundy said.

Orana Hotel, Newcastle

The Orana Hotel

In another recent Laundy family coastal acquisition, Arthur Laundy’s daughter Danielle Richardson and her husband Shane have purchased the Orana Hotel near Newcastle in NSW for $13 million.

The Orana Hotel occupies around 3,000sqm on a high-exposure corner site between the popular suburbs of Swansea and Belmont.

 “Danielle and I are very excited to have found this little gem, and we love how the current owners have transformed this pub into a great family friendly hotel,” Shane Richardson said.

“We plan to keep building on this proposition and further make it a great social hub for the community of Blacksmiths and the wider Swansea Belmont region.”

JLL, which managed the sale, said the Orana Hotel is the fifth hotel located between Sydney and Newcastle sold by the company in as many months.

Criterion Hotel, Gundagai

The Criterion Hotel

A Sydney-based syndicate, meanwhile has made a regional acquisition in the NSW Riverina town of Gundagai.

The incoming operator is the newly-formed Lancer Group, which is fronted by Tim Fallon, the freehold owner of the Buena Vista Hotel in Mosman. Lancer has also invested in the growing nearby town of Tumut, with the purchase last year of the Royal Hotel.

Fallon said, “We are excited to include the Criterion into our portfolio and look forward to continuing the great work of David and Jedda in providing the locals and visitors to Gundagai with a consistent and vibrant community venue.”

The Criterion Hotel in Gundagai was sold for around $6m by publican David Hindmarsh, who is exiting the hotel after 20 years, with JLL Property managing the process.

“The pub has been a wonderful experience from the beginning, but the time is right to let it go now and allow someone else to take it forward into the next 20 years,” Hindmarsh said.

JLL vice president Kate MacDonald and executive Greg Jeloudev said they managed to achieve a sale price $1m above the vendor’s expectation.

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