Glenn Piper’s hotel group, now officially known as Epochal Hotels, has acquired the Scarborough Hotel in the Illawarra region of New South Wales.

The newly-established Epochal Hotels has acquired the famed cliff-top pub overlooking the Pacific Ocean for $9.5m. The 138-year-old hotel was sold by WIN Corporation, who have owned the hotel for over 40 years.

The oldest licensed premise in the City of Wollongong, the heritage-listed building sits on more than 3900 sqm of ocean-facing land, and is well visited by locals, tourists and day-trippers from Sydney, soaking in the water views in its expansive beer garden.

“The Scarborough Hotel stands as a rare gem among Australian pubs, boasting an expansive outdoor area, unparalleled beer garden views, and a rich and storied history,” stated Epochal Hotels CEO Glenn Piper.

“This is a deeply meaningful project for us; we want to deliver something truly special here, an experience that befits its spectacular location, reflects the pub’s stature and resonates deeply with the community.”

WIN Corporation CEO Andrew Lancaster said the Scarborough Hotel had been a strong asset for the company but WIN’s focus was growing and maintaining the organisation’s media and investment businesses.

“Pubs are not part of our core business and it is time for a new owner to guide this iconic site into the future,” he said.

“We are happy to have sold the Scarborough Hotel to Epochal Hotels as we are passing it into safe hands with a proven track record. Epochal Hotels has a strong understanding of pubs and hospitality and we look forward to seeing what fresh ideas they bring to the hotel.”

Like the other assets within the Epochal Hotels group, Piper has partnered with a small syndicate of investors on the acquisition – in this case, several that are local to NSW’s south coast.

Cliff-top ocean views from Scarborough Hotel.

Growing a signature portfolio

The Scarborough Hotel joins the newly-formed Epochal Hotels portfolio, which favours coastal assets. Piper and his team kicked off the portfolio in 2019 with the acquisition of the Harbord Hotel, Freshwater, in Sydney’s Northern Beaches region. The hotel was given a huge overhaul to restore the venue as an anchor point of the local and surfing community – and was named the 2023 Hotel of the Year at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards.

Later this year, a new hospitality experience on the second floor of the Harbord Hotel will be introduced, as well as a recording studio for local artists.

Also in the portfolio is the recently refurbished Beach Hotel in Merewether, Newcastle; and The Commodore Hotel in North Sydney, which will relaunch with a new offer at the end of the year. The Epochal Hotels portfolio is rounded out with two landmark properties: Q Station on the Northern Beaches and Hook Island in the Whitsundays, which will be transformed into an eco-lodge.

“Our mission is simple: to uncover unique local institutions and the collective memories buried within communities. As a team, we’re fuelled by the desire to build on or revive local pride in places we genuinely believe are incomparable,” stated Piper.

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