Campbell and Clare Rogers have added to their growing pub assets in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie by purchasing the Gunyah Hotel for $11 million.
The couple sold a hotel in Sydney to buy the Sydney Junction Hotel in Hamilton three years ago and have since also bought Argenton Hotel.
The Gunyah Hotel has been co-owned by former National Rugby League players Brett and Jason Hetherington and Brett Mullins for the past 15 years.
The property was listed for sale through expressions of interest last month and, according to CBRE Hotels’ Ben McDonald, “attracted significant interest from a very wide buyer pool” as demand continues to rise for quality assets outside of Sydney’s traditional metropolitan boundaries.
“Places like Newcastle and Lake Macquarie are becoming a lot more in vogue, places that are a bit more accessible to Sydney with a bit more value and a bit more opportunity,” Mr McDonald said.
“Hoteliers are really starting to look at that. It’s been pretty well publicised that there are limited opportunities for purchasers in the Sydney market at the moment.”
Mr McDonald forecast that more transactions would occur in the coastal pub market and said the Gunyah had been underpinned by the property’s 180-degree, unobstructed water views, significant recent refurbishment and upward trajectory of the hotel’s earnings post renovation.
“These were key drivers of interest throughout the campaign, which attracted the attention of hoteliers and commercial property investors from Sydney through to Cairns,” he said.
Mr McDonald, who is also one of the listing agents for The Premier Hotel in Broadmeadow which also hit the market last month, said hoteliers’ interest in pubs in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie area had increased in the past 12 to 18 months.
“Yields in Sydney are pretty tight so they’re looking for opportunities outside of Sydney and Newcastle is probably their first point of call,” he said. “It’s got a much larger population than the likes of Wollongong or Blue Mountains.”
The Rogers’ have reinvigorated SJs as a popular night spot and have plans in with Lake Macquarie City Council to renovate Argenton Hotel.
Mr Rogers saw plenty of potential in the Gunyah Hotel.
“The main things were probably the location, and the current owners have done such a great job with it,” Mr Rogers said.
“We don’t see any changes to operations in the short term and we’ll get to know the venue and the community and set to improve from there.”