The Lake Macquarie Tavern in Mount Hutton, the Imperial Hotel in the Upper Hunter, and Caves Beach Hotel in Newcastle have all been sold in the past week.  

The Lake Macquarie Tavern, which is located near Newcastle in NSW, was sold for $33m by long time owners Paul Crosbie and Bob Warren to purchaser Don Hodge Group, a family business with significant interests in hotel, trucking and aviation.

The business, now run by second generation Don Hodge Jr, also counts the nearby Belmont and Warners Bay Hotel among assets in its large hotel portfolio.

JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, which managed the sale in conjunction with Moore & Moore Real Estate, said it fielded 65 enquires from many of Australia’s most successful operators, family groups and corporate hotel investors.

The hotel’s market appeal was underpinned by its 9,000sqm site area, 30 gaming machine entitlements, late trading approval and location – adjacent to the Lake Macquarie Square retail centre, according to JLL Hotels.

It also sits prominently in one of the fastest growing regions on the NSW coast, and was one of the biggest prices paid outside of Sydney so far in 2022, the property broker said.

JLL Hotels senior vice president Ben McDonald said, “Despite a potential shift in the economic environment, hoteliers with long term investment horizons are continuing to compete aggressively for assets that exude quality and are underpinned by strong trade fundamentals in locations they know and understand.”

The Imperial Hotel, Upper Hunter

The Imperial Hotel in Singleton in the Upper Hunter region was sold last week by the Murphy family to a private Sydney-based hotel investor for around $18.5m in an ‘off market’ transaction also facilitated by JLL Hotels.

The hotel benefits from strong economic and tourism-driven activity and is set to be supported by a growing residential population as demand for ‘lifestyle’ locations continue to gather steam, according to JLL Hotels.

Acquiring the asset in 2019, the Murphy family repositioned the business away from its late-night entertainment trade and focused on creating a genuine pub with a great bar, good food and strong engagement with the local community.

JLL Hotels’ Kate MacDonald said, “Strong performing regional hotels easily accessible from Sydney continue to attract the discerning eye of astute hoteliers and investors given their cashflow generation ability, consistent performance, and growing local economies.”

Caves Beach Hotel, Newcastle

The ocean front Newcastle hotel, Caves Beach Hotel, has been sold by owners Royal Hotels. The purchaser was Oscars Hotels, headed by brothers Bill and Mario Gravanis.

“We have enjoyed our time building the Caves Beach Hotel business and relationships within the community and look favourably towards the continued growth of the business by such esteemed operators as are Oscars Hotels so widely renowned,” a Royal Hotels representative said.

“The sheer scale and waterfront positioning of the Caves Beach Hotel is a remarkable feature of the significant asset,” said HTL Property National Director, Dan Dragicevich who managed the sale.

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