Laundy family snaps up Hunts Hotel as publicans pivot to greenfield developments
Pub veteran Arthur Laundy has snapped up the Hunts Hotel in Sydney’s west as the major players in the sector pivot from running hotels to buying greenfield developments that offer significant growth opportunities.
The pub, which sits opposite the large-scale Crossroads Hotel at Casuala was sold for around $45 million by the long-time private owner as a vacant possession and will be added to the Laundy family’s vast portfolio.
The Laundy family Marsden Brewhouse at Richmond Road, Marsden Park
Hunts Hotel at 2415 Camden Valley Road, sits on 21,420 square metres, and comes with conference facilities, 140 accommodation rooms, a ballroom, tennis courts, restaurants and gaming room.
Laundy intends to redevelop the Hunt Hotel site as he has done with his Marsden Brewhouse at Marsden Park. He said that greenfield developments offer solid income potential as the property can be tailored specifically to meet the demands of the surrounding catchment area.
He bought the Marsden Park pub for $45 million and has built a site that offers an array of conference rooms and a brewery. Laundy is also in a consortium that is redeveloping the Log Cabin Hotel, in Penrith.
JLL hotels & hospitality senior vice president, Ben McDonald, who advised on the sale of the Hunts pub, said the race by hoteliers to develop greenfield pubs in growth locations is a key investment theme in the sector.
“The rewards are not only for publicans brave enough to undertake such projects but for the local communities that stand to benefit from the increased amenity these new pubs seek to offer.”
He said that while developing a new pub comes with its own set of complexities including site identification, navigating respective council, legislative requirements and the acquisition costs, “the rewards can be many”.
“The rewards are not only for publicans brave enough to undertake such projects but for the local communities that stand to benefit from the increased amenity these new pubs seek to offer,” McDonald said.
“The considerable investment made by some of the country’s most respected publicans and hotel groups is truly admirable and highlights the genuine desire by many to add to the economic landscape and deliver a platform for greater social interaction in areas they reside in.”
Craig and Arthur Laundy of Laundy Hotels.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer
The line-up of groups playing in this space reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the market and aside from Laundy Hotels, it includes Sam Arnaout’s Iris Capital, Momento Hospitality, Balmoral Hospitality and De’Angelis Hotel Investments, among others.
Iris Capital has also recently won approval to construct luxury apartments adjoining the Hotel Steyne in Manly.
McDonald expects activity in the space to remain high as publicans seek to employ a ’“rinse and repeat” type strategy as they gather experience undertaking such projects.
“JLL is fortunate to hold a market leading position when it comes to greenfield and brownfield pub projects with some recent examples including those in Casula, Jordan Springs and Calderwood in NSW.”
He said that with new pubs set to emerge in areas including Oran Park, Willowdale and Toongabbie among others mooted for the NSW mid-north coast, “residents will be cheering on as new local watering holes are brought to life”.
In the past two years and in the midst of the global pandemic, the pub sector has been one of the busiest with investment sales topping $2 billion.
Agents said as an investment class, the sector offers regular income from food, drinks and gaming as well as capital value growth from the underlying land.
One recent sale was the Crocodile Farm Hotel, in Ashfield through JLL and HTL Property’s Andrew Jolliffe. The Crocodile occupies a 396 square metre site zoned B4 mixed-use and with 23-metre height limit and high floor space ratios. It provides future development potential, subject to council approvals.
JLL is also selling the Oaks Hotel in Neutral Bay with a price tag of around $175 million. The second round of bids is being reviewed.
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