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Beach Hotel sold to investment bank

Thu, Feb 13, 12:44pm by Ethan Anderson

A landmark Byron Bay hotel has been snapped up by an investment bank.

Real Commercial reports that the Beach Hotel in the beachside New South Wales town has been acquired by Moelis for $104 million.

The bank has closed off an unlisted fund for wealthy investors, for which it was seeking to raise $67 million and had projected total annual returns of 13 per cent over the next five years.

The bullish outlook for beachside hotels has seen billionaires like Justin Hemmes and Chris Morris snap them up, and more are likely to change hands.

Moelis has said the acquisition means it will contribute to buy more pubs.

It will first look to overhaul the famed pub on Byron’s main beach best known for once being owned by former Paul Hogan manager and sidekick John Cornell.

The pub has had a number of high-profile owners, including race and car driver Max Twigg and Melbourne fund house Impact Investment.

Moelis swooped on the pub last year and raised $67 million from investors, with the remainder of the purchase debt-funded.

The bank’s Beach Hotel deal will allow an overhaul of the Bryon pub, bringing together the real estate and operating business for the first time in 13 years.

The pub will be run by Moelis Australia Hotel Management, which already runs the listed Redcape Hotel Group, comprising 32 gaming-focused venues along the east coast.

The bank purchased the pub after it was put on the block by Impact.

Byron hotel swaps pokies for restaurant space

The Beach Hotel in Byron Bay is now under new ownership, with big changes on how it approaches its operations.

Echo reported in March 2019 that since the Impact Investment Group bought the Beach Hotel in 2018, they have removed the clubs 15 poker machines and redesigned the space.

It reopened as the Green Room this past weekend, in an effort to support local workers and businesses.

“We are really proud of making the big move to remove our poker machines. It was a hard decision financially, but it certainly feels like the right decision. The feedback from the community has been extremely positive,” general manager Elke van Haandel told Echo.

“For the new incarnation of the space, we have sourced everything locally. From the materials – to the collaborators – to the menu, everything possible has been curated around what’s available in our shire.”

“It’s not just the food – but the beverages too. Every cocktail was curated around a Brookies Gin or a Husk Distillers product, with Stone & Wood on tap of course, but also we have been the first to pour Jilly wines on tap and Mount Warning mineral water,” van Haandel said.

Chef of the Beach Hotel David Moyle has designed a menu that focuses on seafood and aperitivo-hour snacks.

Larger items include kangaroo tartare, local burrata with tomato salad, charcuterie boards and a prawn cocktail.

This transformation in New South Wales comes as councils across Australia grapple with pokies reform in their communities.

Kennett vows to keep Hawks’ pokies

Hawthorn Football Club president Jeff Kennett says premiership star James Morrissey is entitled to his opinion, but the Hawks have no intention of ceding their reliance on the gaming business.

In a column published by The Age, Morrissey, who played in Hawthorn’s 1988, 1989 and 1991 premierships, declared it was time for his former club to pull out of its two gaming venues.

Mr Kennett insisted on Tuesday that the Hawks would not do that, for he and the board had a responsibility to keep the club financially healthy.

Asked if the Hawks would follow Morrissey’s call, Kennett responded: “No, and James is entitled to his opinion.

“We are a family club and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some, on the other hand, have a responsibility for running the club and that lies with the board. James doesn’t have that responsibility.”

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