The award-winning Warners at the Bay on Lake Macquarie has been sold to Dan Hodge Group.

Just south of Newcastle, the sprawling freehold hotel is set on 2.65 acres on the water, and was sold by a syndicate of publicans based in nearby Newcastle for over $11 million.

The hotel itself takes up 2000 sqm of the site, and includes several drinking and dining spaces, two commercial kitchens, an outdoor covered kid’s play area, a TAB area and an outdoor gaming solution with 15 EGMs. There is also a 50-room motel with a separate entrance, an award-winning large-format bottle-shop and plenty of parking.

Warner’s at the Bay was sold on behalf of the owners by Mike Wheatley and Kate MacDonald of Knight Frank, who noted that the hotel offered the purchaser a diversified business.

“Warners at the Bay provides the incoming owner with a unique large-format pub inclusive of an award-winning bottle shop and 50-room motel, essentially three separate businesses, on over 10,000 square metres of land situated 14 km from Newcastle,” stated MacDonald.

Gaming revenue at the hotel has improved in the last few years, as the owners added an entrance to the gaming solution directly from the carpark in December 2016. Since then, the hotel has jumped in New South Wales’ gaming rankings from 732 to 681, with more scope to grow.

“The Band 1 SA2 allows for fairly straightforward addition of EGMs to the gaming room, and possible extension of trading hours post-midnight, which will bring almost immediate upside for the purchaser.”

Warner’s at the Bay is the fourth hotel to be added to the Don Hodge Group’s pub portfolio, alongside the Forbes Inn, Commercial Hotel – both based in Forbes in central west New South Wales – and East Hills Hotel in Sydney’s south.

Hotels are just one arm of Don Hodge Group’s business, which also has divisions focused on truck sales, commercial property development, and aviation.

MacDonald stated that the transaction was indicative of a continued interest by hoteliers in the Newcastle/Central Coast region of New South Wales.

“We managed to obtain a healthy yield for our vendor in this Lake Macquarie location. The sheer size of the land and future possibilities for the pub, paired with the already strong EBITDA, actually led to a good deal for all involved.

“We absolutely feel that there is continued high demand from hoteliers all over NSW (and interstate) to obtain an asset on the Central Coast, especially while yields in Sydney Metro remain super sharp.”


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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