Ex-hotelier Paddy Coughlan has returned to pub ownership and operations with the purchase of Five Islands Hotel in Cringila.

Coughlan, who exited the hotel trade in 2019, has returned to pub operations under his new pub fund vehicle Ludlow Hospitality. The fund is back by US investors.

Five Islands Hotel in Wollongong is Ludlow Hospitality’s first acquisition, purchasing the hotel off Oscars Hotel Group for $20.7 million. The off-market transaction was overseen on behalf of the vendors by John Musca and Kate MacDonald of JLL Hotels & Hospitality.

“We are delighted to launch the new Ludlow Hospitality Fund with such a quality cornerstone asset and for the opportunity to become part of the local Cringila community,” stated Coughlan.

Five Islands Hotel occupies a 2,314 sqm site and recently underwent an extensive renovation. Its offer includes new public and lounge bars, a bistro, a gaming room with 22 EGMs, 12 accommodation rooms and on-site car parking.

“We continue to experience the convergence of compelling investment metrics, differing capital profiles and latent asset demand that is driving an extraordinary level of transactional activity, in what remains a highly regulated and protected asset class,” stated Musca.

MacDonald added: “Market enthusiasm remains across all hotel business profiles evidenced by the disproportionately large number of transactions being affected in an off-market manner.”

Coughlan has had a long and varied career within the Sydney pub trade, first as the CEO of the Riversdale Group, before selling the portfolio to John Singleton’s now defunct Australian Pub Fund. Coughlan then set up his own Bourke St Group, which he shuttered in 2019 with the sale of his last pub asset the Botany View Hotel in Sydney’s inner west. He then focused on the national growth of his hard lemonade brand, Frank Strongs.

Meanwhile, Five Islands Hotel vendors Oscars Hotel Group have also been very active on both the buying and sellings sides of the market of late, repositioning their group from a NSW-based pub  group, to a national business with a more holistic approach to hospitality, accommodation and tourism assets.

In the last few months alone, the group has purchased the Beachcomber Hotel and Resort on NSW’s Central Coast – an 80-room waterfront resort and pub that will be repositioned as a beach club – as well as acquiring Long Island off Airlie Beach in Far North Queensland from former Rothschild Director, David Kingston. Oscars Hotels has also recently divested it’s inner-Sydney pub The Strand Hotel, to new group the people_.

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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