Rare Sydney CBD hotel hits the market amidst constrained supply

Veriu Central Hotel to attract keen investor interest with premium location and development upside

A rare opportunity has arisen to acquire a quality, freehold Sydney CBD hotel.

Colliers International’s Gus Moors, Karen Wales and Joseph Lin have been appointed to bring to market the Veriu Central Hotel at 75 Wentworth Avenue in Sydney on behalf of the Veriu Group. The hotel is being offered on a sale and leaseback basis.

“The opportunity to secure such well-located properties is incredibly rare, and when coupled with the security of the leases and potential development upside, Sydney has not witnessed such a quality investment opportunity for a long time,” Mr Moors said. 

“Located on the corner of Wentworth Avenue and Elizabeth Street, Veriu Central Hotel captures a broad variety of demand through its proximity to major commercial towers, the International Convention Centre (ICC), Chinatown, as well as the vibrant dining, entertainment and creative precinct of Surry Hills.”

The hotel features 112 recently renovated rooms wrapped within a stunning heritage façade. It occupies the ground floor reception and four levels of above ground accommodation. The building also houses four other tenancies on the ground and lower ground levels, all of which are complementary to the hotel offering.  The hotel and the tenancies have received extensive renovations over the past 5 years. 

“As a result, an incoming purchaser has no medium-term capital expenditure requirements, and  is set to benefit from these recent works,” Mr Moors said.

Ms Wales said the current owner was exploring potential development opportunities for the site, with two different schemes adding between 42 and 93 extra rooms above the current building envelope.

“The building is being offered for sale with the benefit of a long-term lease to Veriu, a well-established and professional hotel operator, with 42 properties including 20 stand-alone hotels spread across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne,” Ms Wales said. “Veriu Central delivers location, a stable income with turnover upside, diversity and development potential – the combination of which makes this an outstanding opportunity.”

With easy access to Sydney’s Central Railway station, the hotel captures strong demand from airport and intrastate travellers. 

Mr Moors said the Sydney CBD hotel market was arguably one of the best long-term accommodation markets in Asia Pacific. 

“The city  achieved an occupancy above 87% in 2018, with an average rate of over $260 – this is a 26% premium to the second-placed Melbourne market, and helps cement Sydney as the premier hotel investment market in Australia,” he said. “The supply outlook is benign and tourism generating infrastructure in the form of the International Convention Centre, Crown Casino and Barangaroo will broaden the appeal of the city for visitors. 

“The City is also revitalising its transport infrastructure with the new light rail along George Street opening in 2020 and an underground metro system opening in 2024. 

“Being in close proximity to this new transport infrastructure, Veriu Central guests will be able to access all parts of the CBD within minutes, ensuring a wider base of demand which transcends the current location.”

Sydney received almost 4.1 million overnight international visitors in 2018, spending over $9.7billion and contributing almost 82 million visitor nights. The city is highly regarded by international visitors with visitors and visitor nights increasing by 3.2% and 2.5% respectively year-on-year.

Ms Wales said Sydney was a very tightly held hotel ownership market, with only two CBD hotels transacting in 2018 and only 10 CBD properties selling below $100 million over the past five years.  

“The Sydney City accommodation market now comprises approximately 23,553 accommodation
rooms and, given the record high occupancy levels, has greater capacity to absorb new rooms,” she said. “ While there are new rooms coming into the Sydney City hotel market, the pace of openings is considerably slower than in other Australian state capitals.

“Projects in the pipeline now face a changed development environment which may see fewer progress than previously anticipated. Further office stock withdrawals are not anticipated given the current strength of Sydney’s office market and opportunities for new hotel development will remain constrained as a result. 

“Of the supply which will come to fruition, it is worth noting that the vast majority is graded upper upscale or above, meaning that the Veriu Central will continue to be the best located upscale boutique/lifestyle hotel within the Sydney CBD core for the foreseeable future.”

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Karen Wales

Director |Transaction Services, Hotels Asia Pacific

Sydney CBD

Karen has over twenty years of experience in the hotel industry and holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the Australian Graduate School of Management. She brings with her a specialised knowledge of the Asia Pacific hotel investment market and an ability to drive fresh capital into Australia’s hotel markets. She has developed an exceptional network over the past two years across Asia and the Middle East and within government, in her capacity as Senior Investment Specialist Tourism Infrastructure at Austrade and her knowledge of new entrants into the growing Australian tourism sector is second to none.      

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Gus Moors

Head of Hotels | Australia

Sydney CBD

Having joined Colliers in early 2014, I have subsequently sold over $180 million of hotel assets across Victoria and NSW, including the largest hotel transaction in Victoria since 2008, being Bell City Preston for $143 million.

Prior to joining Colliers, I was Director of Asset Management for Tourism Asset Holdings Limited (TAHL), Australia's largest hotel owner and responsible for selling down this portfolio totalling over $1.5 billion.

Before TAHL, I was with Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels for 7 years, as Head of Asset Management and Chief Operating Officer for the Hotels group across Asia Pacific.

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Joseph Lin

National Director | Asia Markets

Sydney CBD

Joseph is the National Director, Asia Markets based in the Sydney CBD Investment Services team. He has a key focus of working with Asian Ultra-High-Net-Worth investors and institutional capital partners, having previously facilitated multiple high-profile domestic and cross-border transactions in and from Asia. 

Prior to joining Colliers International, Joseph was the Managing Director of CBRE Taiwan office where he led a team of 200 staffs across multiple business lines. Through his understanding of Asian clients' requirements in various stages of property ownership and his extensive management experiences across a range of expertise, Joseph has been the go-to-person for his Asian clients, connecting the right specialists to provide the best-in-class practices and expert advices and to deliver exceptional value for his clients.

With his unique skills in Architecture and Project Management, his exceptional experiences in international transactions and his language abilities in Mandarin, Cantonese and English, he has successfully facilitated the offshore and onshore Asian clients to expand and/or divest their real estate portfolio in Australia.

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