By James Atkinson

Gold Coast businessmen Terry Morris and Dean Merrell further expanded their hotel interests in Queensland this week, buying the Highland Park Tavern leasehold business at Nerang on the Gold Coast.

The tavern is located in the Highland Park Plaza and features a bar with TAB facility, 60-seat bistro and kitchen, eight poker machines, beer garden, and on-premise bottle shop.

Also included in the business are three external bottle shops, all located within five-kilometres of the tavern.

Morris and Merrell purchased the lease for the tavern and bottleshops through their newly-created Highland Park Tavern Trading Pty Ltd. The assignment was settled yesterday.

The pair has purchased six hotels in Queensland since mid-2011. They were the Dugandan Hotel and Australian Hotel in Boonah, the Oasis Hotel in Dalby, the Westbrook Junction Tavern near Toowoomba, the Tarampa Hotel near Lowood, and the Warehouse Tavern at Yatala between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Merrell said the Highland Park Tavern would be managed as part of the Good Times Pub Group, which also oversees operations of the six hotels he previously purchased with Morris.

"We think this Tavern is another good investment alongside our other hotels, plus Nerang has a growing population base," said Merrell.

"Our early plans include upgrading the menu in the bistro so it is more family-friendly for customers."

The tavern's staff of 19 will be retained. New manager will be Marty Damjanoski, whose previously experience includes working at the Central Park Tavern on the Gold Coast and for Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group.

The lease assigned to the new Morris-Merrell venture continues until December 31, 2013, and includes a further five options of five years each.

The previous lessee of the tavern and its business was Lexberg Pty Ltd.

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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