By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
Noted Sydney hotelier Andrew Lazarus of Eastern Hotels Group has purchased the Exchange Hotel in Hamilton from Lantern Hotels.
The Newcastle pub was sold for $6.625 million, amid interest from local and Sydney-based hoteliers. The campaign was handled by CBRE Hotel’s Daniel Dragicevich and Ben McDonald.
While the sale price represents a 7 per cent premium on the hotel’ book value at 31 December 2015, it is significantly less than the $9.25 million that Lantern Hotels paid for the hotel in late 2014.
The sale was part of Lantern Hotels’ continued push to divest their portfolio of non-core assets. Also currently on the market from Lantern Hotels are the Lawson Park Hotel in Mudgee, the Courthouse Hotel in Cairns and the Central Hotel in Bundaberg. The ASX-listed group also recently sold the Bowral Hotel in the southern highlands region of New South Wales and the GPO in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.
Dragicevich suggested that Lazarus, who also owns The Eastern in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, was the perfect hotelier to take charge of the Exchange Hotel.
“Mr Lazarus is a great fit for the Exchange and we expect with his experience and expertise for the hotel to continue to be the local favourite it’s always been.”
Speculation has been made that the Exchange Hotel would be absorbed by an investor fund from Bondi Asset Management (BAM), which Lazarus co-founded with Stuart King in 2015. King denies BAM’s involvement in the Exchange Hotel purchase, saying that it is not currently in a position to act on it.
“We are currently looking at a couple of other prospects in Sydney and could not justify moving our focus outside of Sydney at this time.
“Both Andrew and BAM believe that Newcastle is a growth market and see the Exchange Hotel as an underperforming asset in this area. Whether the Exchange comes into the BAM stable at some stage remains to be seen but I can confirm that Andrew was very pleased with the purchase.”
BAM’s first purchase was the Vauxhall Inn in western Sydney, which is now operated by Eastern Hotels Group.