Schwartz buys up big in Hunter properties 

MILLIONAIRE cosmetic surgeon Jerry Schwartz has injected more than $60 million into the Hunter in the past 72 hours in a strategic move to build on his hotel accommodation and brewing empires.

Dr Schwartz said yesterday that he expected to exchange contracts today to buy the Novotel Newcastle Beach from Accor.

The sale of the prime beach hotel site, with a price tag believed to be $16.5 million, comes just two days after Dr Schwartz snapped up the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley in Lovedale for $45 million.

‘‘Your headline should read ‘Dr Schwartz believes in the Hunter district’,’’ the 55-year-old Sydney resident and son of Hungarian immigrants quipped.

‘‘Newcastle is a lovely city, the second biggest in NSW, it’s just got huge potential for growth and you can see that it is growing.’’

The agent for the Novotel Newcastle Beach sale, Jones Lang Lasalle Hotels senior vice-president Peter Harper, confirmed the transaction but declined to comment. 

Dr Schwartz is managing director of the Schwartz Family Company which has a hotel division and a shopping centre division.

He resides in the exclusive eastern Sydney suburb of Vaucluse and has a registered charity, the Schwartz Foundation, which invests in other charities and programs in areas including education and training, medicine and science and the environment. 

He worked in Newcastle more than three decades ago as an ophthalmology registrar at Royal Newcastle Hospital and has a medical surgery in Sydney. 

Dr Schwartz also owns Crowne Plaza Newcastle on Wharf Road – an area which he has earmarked for development. 

In November last year he paid $9.5 million to ROI Properties for a strategic harbourside site at the rear of the hotel, bound by Wharf Road, Merewether Street and Argyle Street and jumping to Centenary Road.

Dr Schwartz said he was poised to submit a development application with Newcastle council to build a brewery within warehouses at the rear of the site and was also pushing ahead with separate  plans to develop a new hotel, conference centre and parking facilities on the site.

In addition, Dr Schwartz will throw his hat into the ring for the Newcastle City Council tender for the liquor licence of the Civic Hotel so he could use the licence to have a beer cellar door and tasting room at his planned brewery. 

Dr Schwartz, who recently listed the Macquarie Hotel pub in inner Sydney for sale, said his move to buy the two Hunter hotels was in line with his strategy to move into accommodation hotels.

‘‘There is more scope, it’s a great service to tourism and most accommodation have bars in them anyway, so I’m not moving away from public areas I’m just increasing my magnitude of public areas,’’ he said.

Dr Schwartz said construction on a new cider house in his Rydges World Square hotel in Sydney was almost complete and he would distribute the liquor within his hotels.  

Dr Schwartz said he was thrilled to buy the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, which has been in financial limbo since 2010 when receivers were appointed following the collapse of its owners, including Chinese construction group Hightrade. 

The hotel’s management company, the Intercontinental Hotel Group, will continue to operate the site. 

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