Laundy Hotels has sold the Lake Macquarie pub, Swansea Hotel.

The Swansea Hotel was sold in an off-market transaction to local group Hunter Hotels, bringing their portfolio up to nine venues in the Maitland, Central Coast and Lake Macquarie regions of New South Wales. The portfolio also includes Kincumber Hotel, Pippi’s at the Point, and Finnegan’s Hotel in Newcastle’s CBD.

The sale was negotiated by HTL Property’s Dan Dragicevich and Blake Edwards.

Laundy Hotels first purchased the Swansea Hotel in 2016 for $13 million off hotelier Phil Bernie. Justine Laundy immediately took the reins in overseeing a significant reconfiguration and renovation program which mainly involved repurposing a building area that had been historically leased to a third party.

“We updated the existing beer garden with some aesthetic touches and a new kids play area. We also enhanced the gaming facilities with a new outdoor TAB and gaming room,” stated Laundy.

“Our next step was a full extension of the beer garden, with DA approval for more outdoor space and a full kids playground.”

The reconfiguration of the area resulted in a marked improvement of trading performance and overall asset value.

Family patriarch Arthur Laundy said the pub was sold after a recent assessment of the overall Laundy Hotels portfolio, and that sales and acquisitions for the group would continue at pace.

“We plan to be active in this environment both in terms of reviewing opportunities to buy and sell assets,” stated Laundy.

“Sitting still at this point in time isn’t an option for us, and arguably shouldn’t be for anyone else.”

The large-format Swansea Hotel sits on a 3235 sqm site and is located in the heart of the suburb’s retail precinct. It includes a 50-space off-street carpark, and the benefit of 24-hour trading approval with 30 gaming machines.

Dragicevich noted that the pub’s sale was another indicator that COVID had not dampened the appetite for large-format, regional pubs.

“This transaction highlights another example of the crystallisation of A-grade hotel values from pre-COVID levels until now.

“We remain encouraged by the buoyancy regarding market activity over recent months, and the pronounced snap-back in positive market sentiment has only served to underline a resiliency and attractiveness for pubs being highly credible investment-grade assets.”

With the sale of the Swansea Hotel, Justine Laundy and her husband Nick Tindall wil now focus on other projects within the Laundy Hotels portfolio.

“We have just completed an update of The Settlers Tavern, West Gosford. We’ve started renovating the Chittaway Bay Tavern, also on the Central Coast. Finally, in 2021 we have an exciting project starting in Sydney – an extensive renovation, including rooftop bar, of the Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel.”

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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