Laundy family moves on Sheraton Mirage to expand $1b hotel portfolio

Billionaire hotel barons Arthur Laundy and Theo Karedis are set to add the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort on the Gold Coast to their expanding empire with a value of more than $1 billion, spanning along the eastern seaboard.

The hotel, which was built by late fugitive developer Christopher Skase in the 1980s was put up sale by The Star Entertainment Group as part of its non-core asset sale program.

The former chief executive of Accor Pacific, Simon McGrath, has been appointed to head the Laundy family and Karedis joint venture’s hotel business which comprises the Sofitel Noosa, Crowne Plaza in Terrigal and the Manly Pacific.

Agents to the deal, McVay, Colliers and JLL declined to comment, but it is expected that the deal will be signed off in the coming week as the joint venture concludes its exclusive due diligence, with a price close to $200 million.

Having been one of the hardest-hit sectors during the global pandemic, hotels have bounced back to be better performers for investors against traditional office assets.

In its latest report, CBRE said domestic tourism was the main driver of revenue growth with about 80 per cent. Overnight spending up is about 25 per cent year-on-year.

This has led hotel sales to rise to more than $2.14 billion – the second-highest transaction volume on record – with significant additional equity capital still on the sidelines waiting for signs of a stabilisation in interest rates and inflation, according to new CBRE research.

The largest sale is Sydney’s Waldorf Astoria to billionaire mining couple Nicole and Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest for about $575 million through CBRE and McVay Real Estate.

CBRE’s Australian head of hotels research Ally McDade said while a high inflation and interest rate environment would place upward pressure on yields and internal rate of return expectations, “improving tourism demands fundamentals, and impressive performance indicators are likely to cushion any impact of higher credit-funding costs”.

In another deal, EVT has launched the Rydges Resort Hunter Valley after taking over the management of what was the Crowne Plaza. The sprawling site is owned by Dr Jerry Schwartz and comes with a private train and large-scale events business.

Rydges has been appointed the new operator of the Hunter Valley Resort.

The ASX-listed EVT has itself rebranded from Event Hospitality and Entertainment and has a market value of $1.94 billion. It owns and manages an array of hotel brands, cinemas including the IMAX, Event and Moonlight brands, and a $2 billion property portfolio.

EVT director of hotels and resorts Norman Arundel said Rydges would be the fifth Schwartz Family Company property under EVT’s management.

“The synergy between Dr Schwartz’s passion for the Hunter Valley region and our operational expertise will deliver a truly unique guest experience,” Arundel said.

He added there were a number of upgrades and new initiatives planned including a new fully electric passenger train to transport guests around the sprawling property which has 414 guest rooms including villas and suites, and the purpose-built Hunter Valley Conference and Events Centre.

Dr Schwartz welcomed the arrival of Rydges to the resort, saying that EVT would utilise their events and entertainment expertise to build further the resort’s attraction for leisure and conference guests.

“The Hunter Valley should be one of Australia’s most preferred tourism destinations, and we believe that EVT and Rydges can build on its current popularity and elevate it even further,” Dr Schwartz.

Article source: www.smh.com.au

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