The Criterion Hotel in the Lower Hunter Valley town of Weston has been bought by Ned Kelly of Kelly & Co Hotels, with his new business partner, Sydney-based investor Corey Dunn.

The pub which features a bar, bistro, 10 accommodation rooms, large beer garden, 15 gaming entitlements and a 3am licence, has been operated by John Campbell, a Newcastle based hotelier who owns the Fire Station Hotel in Wallsend. The freehold was held by Sydney based publican Peter Calligeros, who currently owns the Trinity Bar in Surry Hills, Rag & Famish and Treehouse Hotel both in North Sydney.

The deal, which was brokered by HTL Property’s Blake Edwards, sees Kelly & Co take both assets and was worth around $4m.

Speaking about the deal, Kelly said: “I’m a big fan of that whole Lower Hunter growth corridor, and a combination of population boom and the closure of nearby competitor hotels made The Criterion a compelling buy.”

Kelly was a Co-Founder of the Riversdale pub group, but he left in 2014 to focus on running his own regional hotel group.

Calligeros said of the deal: “Some people think this market is a case of the big consuming the small, but in reality, it is more likely the fast consuming the slow. And that is what Ned and Corey were able to deliver, and I wish them both well.”

Edwards added: “This sale has come along a result of a surge in post CV-19 buying activity driven by strong gaming revenue, low interest rates and a general feeling of optimism within the industry.

“The combination of these factors is expected to create yield compression and high transaction volumes towards the end of the year and into 2021.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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